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Does your baby need a little fun in her life? And perhaps a little exercise, too? A baby jumper could be just the thing.
A baby jumper is the infant equivalent of a child’s playground. In it, your child can stand, and can stretch her developing legs while exploring her surroundings.
There’s nothing quite like hearing her giggle or watching her eyes light up as she discovers some newfound “independence” in her baby jumper.
The market is bursting with different product options, from stationary jumpers with activity saucers to suspended door jumpers that are classically known by some as the Johnny Jump Up. With so many choices, consumers can pick from a wide range of jumper prices, sizes, age/weight limits, features, and more.
Worried about your baby jumper taking up space? Some jumpers are easy to disassemble and store. This is a plus if you're low on space or if you want to pack the jumper away for future use.
At BestReviews, we understand how taxing parenting can be. For this reason, we want your shopping experience to be as stress-free as possible. Through rigorous research, we’ve identified five excellent jumpers that would provide your baby with the utmost in entertainment, comfort, and safety.
Please see our product matrix, above, for tried-and-true baby jumpers that could have your baby giggling with joy. And please read on if you’d like to learn more about choosing the perfect baby jumper.
A baby jumper is a stationary unit in which your child can sit and “jump” while supported by elastic bands and a secure seat. Some jumpers are quite plain: all you get is the apparatus, and all the baby can do in it is jump. Other jumpers include trays filled with exploratory toys that stimulate and entertain the child.
A simple stationary jumper, much like the name implies, is fixed in place by its frame. It includes a seat and an elastic cord that helps your baby jump. The simplest of stationary jumpers features no additional toys or sensory entertainment for baby. Its sole purpose is to allow the child to bounce.
These jumpers consist of a seat, elastic cord, frame, and tray filled with a variety of toys. The toys may vary from jumper to jumper, but their purpose is the same: to provide your baby with visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation during her jumping session.
Doorway jumpers include no built-in frame. Rather, they attach as a bungee to a door frame with a clamp. These jumpers can be bothersome to set up and take down, but they tend to cost less than simple stationary jumpers and exersaucers.
Contrary to popular myth, a baby jumper will not help develop your baby’s leg muscles or motor skills. However, she’ll have a ton of fun, burn lots of energy, and enjoy new sensory experiences.
Some baby jumpers allow you to adjust for your child’s height as she grows. You may see a package that advertises the maximum number of height adjustments that can be made. The more adjustment increments available, the more likely your child will sit comfortably in the jumper.
In the interest of safety, jumper manufacturers specify a weight minimum and maximum for each model. The majority of jumpers quote a maximum weight of 20 to 30 pounds. However, our product research turned up a few rare models with weight maximums of 40 to 60 pounds.
It’s important to adhere to manufacturer guidelines, as placing a too-heavy or too-light child in a jumper poses a safety risk.
Seats differ from jumper to jumper. The best jumpers feature removable seat pads that can be machine washed or spot cleaned. Plush padding is a nice touch, too. For younger, floppier infants, we suggest that you consider a unit with a high seat and a supportive back.
If you’re buying a stationary activity jumper, you’ll also want to make sure that your baby can comfortably reach the toys from her seat. Some activity centers feature 360° rotating seats that allow baby to turn and face different portions of the toy tray, depending on her mood. We at BestReviews strongly recommend this feature, as dealing with a frustrated infant is quite the opposite of a stress-free experience!
Stationary activity jumpers, or exersaucers, feature a saucer that surrounds your baby’s seat. The saucer is filled with various toys to entertain the child, from flashing lights to musical electronics to fuzzy, crinkly touchables.
The toys on your child’s activity jumper dashboard can:
Before you buy a jumper, observe the types of toys your baby currently enjoys. Does she love toys that make noise? Flash brightly? Feel soft to the touch? Choosing a jumper with the right toys helps ensure that your child won’t lose interest in your investment.
And down the road, if you want to add more toys — or replace worn ones with new ones — it’s easy! Toy links, which you can purchase alone or with fun gadgets already attached, easily clasp onto the side of your activity jumper to add extra entertainment for baby.
If you choose to buy an activity jumper with powered toys, be forewarned that a set of new batteries (or two or three) are probably in your future. Jumpers with sounds and lights are wonderful and exciting for baby, but they do require an additional small investment. Rechargeable batteries could save you money in the long run, if you’re so inclined to purchase them.
Make sure the jumper seat has two or more elastic straps that keep your baby in place while she bounces. Single elastic strap seats could make the jumper swing unpredictably, resulting in injury.
It’s a common parental fear that baby jumpers are unsafe. The reality, however, is that many parents swear by them, and they are still legally sold. In order to maximize your baby’s safety, please note the following tips:
If you choose to purchase a doorway jumper, this section of our shopping guide is for you. A doorway jumper is an economical investment that can provide your child with hours of enjoyment, but it comes with a few of its own safety issues.
Your doorway is hard, wooden, and angular. It’s generally not a baby-friendly space.
But your baby’s doorway jumper will be suspended in said doorway, and you want to make sure she doesn’t collide with the wall. To ease this concern, many manufactures place circular padding around the seat to form a buffer between the baby and the wall. The padding isn’t foolproof; your baby could still thrust her head or arms outside of the padding ring and into harm’s way. But the presence of the padding eases the possibility of injury considerably.
If you’ve got your heart set on a Johnny Jump Up, consider lining your doorway with protective padding. It’s a fairly easy DIY.
A doorway jumper attaches via a clamp to the door’s moulding. That clamp could potentially slip or break, causing your baby to fall to the ground. Some reasons for this could include:
Note: many doorway jumpers have been recalled over the years due to faulty clamps.
When you’re deciding where to hang your doorway jumper, remember that you won’t be able to move in and out of the room without sliding past your baby. For this reason, we suggest you choose a doorway with light foot traffic.
The doorway will require a good amount of moulding in order for the clasp to adequately grip it. So what if you have a doorway with little or no trim? In this case, we suggest you search for a jumper that uses a hook (these are rare) or consider an exersaucer or simple stationary jumper instead.
If you own both a pet and a doorway jumper, take precautions. A boisterous dog or cat could barge through the doorway, inadvertently pushing your baby into the jamb or collapsing the jumper altogether.
Q: At what age and weight should I get my baby a jumper?
A: Your baby needs to be able to hold her head upright and bear a bit of weight on her legs without assistance in order to successfully use a jumper. It isn’t as much a matter of her age and weight as it is her development.
However, if your baby is already walking on her own, the jumper won’t probably be of much use or interest anymore.
Children who are between the “upright head” and “walking” milestones are the best candidates for a baby jumper.
Q: What is the difference between a jumper and a walker?
A: Jumpers are stationary activity centers. The child can move slightly from side to side and up and down, but she’s not actually mobile. And yet, she gets great exercise and other sensory stimulation from the experience.
A baby walker actually allows the child to move from one end of the room to the other while seated. It’s the adult equivalent of a rolling, spinning desk chair. Baby walkers are not as common as they once were due to safety concerns.
Q: How long should my baby use a jumper each day?
A: Some experts say that your baby should use a jumper for a maximum of 20 minutes per day. More than 20 minutes could actually hinder your baby’s walking process, according to some.
However, others have allowed their baby to use the jumper for more than 20 minutes per day with no problems. In the end, it’s up to you how long you want your baby to play in her jumper each day.