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Updated August 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best baby bouncers

Are you looking for a safe way to entertain your baby while you get things done? Like maybe taking a two-minute shower or preparing a meal?

If so, a baby bouncer could be just what you need. A good baby bouncer secures the child in a comfortable reclining position where they can look at toys, gaze at pretty lights, feel gentle vibrations, and even listen to music.

With a sturdy frame and a secure safety seat, a bouncer allows baby to enjoy some independent fun while you enjoy having both of your hands free. For many harried parents of newborns, that makes it a must-have.

Through diligent product research, we’ve identified the best-quality baby bouncers that earn consistently high marks from owners.

Best Baby Bouncers This Year
Baby bouncers or rockers are a great way to free up your arms for chores while keeping a baby entertained.

Types of baby bouncers

Basic baby bouncer

Basic baby bouncers are the simplest variety available. They’re considered  to be basic because they include no toys, lights, sounds, or motion controls. If you’re looking for a plain reclining seat that your baby can bounce in, this could be the perfect choice for you.

Basic bouncers offer a huge advantage over other options in that they tend to have more “spring.” This is because they’re not bogged down with the weight of additional toys or other equipment. And because they lack external features, they easily fold for travel and are quite portable.

Activity bouncer

Activity bouncers sport the bells and whistles that basic bouncers lack. From toy rails to mobiles to vibrating musical seats, these units provide valuable sensory stimulation as well as absorbing entertainment for baby.

Due to the additional features, activity bouncers tend to have a bit less spring than their basic counterparts. They’re also bulkier and not as easy to transport and store. However, the features found on an activity bouncer can keep your baby entertained for longer than a basic bouncer.

Expert Tip

Once a baby weighs 20 pounds or can sit up or roll from front to back on their own (whatever comes first), stop using a baby bouncer.

 

BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

About the seat

Your baby is growing and developing, so it is important that they are positioned appropriately, and you want to make sure you get one that’s comfortable. Whichever seat you buy, we recommend that you look for one with some or all of the following characteristics:

Easy to clean

Some bouncers come with removable covers that are machine washable. Others are made of waterproof fabric that’s easy to wipe down.

Padding

Some manufacturers add padding around the frame of the seat. For most children, this makes the seat more comfortable, which is a plus, of course.

Cushioned head support

This feature helps protect your baby’s neck while they're bouncing. Some head supports are removable so the bouncer can still be used as the child grows stronger.

Harness

Many bouncers feature a three-point harness system, but some products incorporate a five-point buckle system for added security. The latter is the type of harness that you will also find on top-quality car and booster seats.

Always buckle your child into their harness when they're in the bouncer. If you don’t, they could slide out of the apparatus and onto the floor, or their nose and mouth could become wedged in such a way that they cannot breathe.

Seat incline

This feature is great if you want the option of adjusting your baby’s reclining position. And who wouldn’t want to make their baby as cozy as possible? Newborns tend to be more comfortable when they’re reclining, but older babies sometimes like to sit up straight.

Best Baby Bouncers 2022
Caution
Never use the vibration feature to help a baby fall asleep. Babies should NEVER  sleep in a baby bouncer or be left in a bouncer unattended.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

About the frame

The frame plays a key role in the functionality of a baby bouncer. It supports and elevates the seat so it’s secure and oh-so-bounceable.

  • Frame material is typically metal, but some generic baby bouncers sport plastic frames. We recommend that you avoid bouncers with plastic frames, as they’re much less sturdy and, therefore, less safe for your baby.
  • The wider the base, the more stable and supported the bouncer will be. A wide base makes it more difficult for the bouncer to tip or be knocked ove.
  • A non-slip base prevents your baby from slowly creeping across the floor while they're bouncing. You certainly don’t want your baby to “travel” while they're in the seat, nor do you want skid marks on your wood or tile floor.
  • Some baby bouncer are more portable than others. If you want one that folds into a smaller size, consider a basic bouncer with no bells and whistles — but be aware that basic bouncers are less “entertaining” overall.

Toys and other features

Baby bouncers come with an array of entertainment options, including the following:

Toy bars

Some activity baby bouncers include toy bars that sit above the baby. Most of these bars come with removable toys, but some have toys that are permanently attached. If you’re thinking of buying the latter, make sure the attached toys would appeal to your baby’s developmental level first.

Music and sound

Do you want your baby to take in a little Mozart as they recline? Some bouncers have a musical switch that allows the child to be serenaded as they play. Other bouncers have a “white noise” option that can help lull the child to sleep. (A baby should never be permitted to sleep in a bouncer. See our Safety Tip section for more information.)

Vibrating seat

If you plan to use your bouncer as a sleep aid, this is a great feature. Some bouncers include a nice menu of vibration settings, from a “gentle” buzz to a more “bouncy” setting. In particular, babies who easily fall asleep in the car may respond well to this feature.

A vibrating seat is also appropriate for a newborn who doesn’t have the strength to bounce on their own yet.

Expert tip
Always supervise babies in a baby bouncer.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Baby bouncer safety tips

Adhere to your bouncer’s weight guidelines

Most bouncers are designed only for the first several months of a baby’s life. Manufacturers typically display their recommended weight and height guidelines right on the box. It’s important that you adhere to them, as a bouncer that’s too big or too small could pose a risk for the child.

Place the bouncer on a solid, flat surface

To minimize the possibility of tipping over, place your bouncer on a solid, flat surface. (A mattress is an example of a non-solid surface.) A frame with a non-slip base provides extra reassurance that baby won’t tip over.

Use the harness

Don’t forget to snugly strap and/or buckle your baby into their seat. The harness holds your child in place and helps prevent them from falling out. Search for straps that are both durable and comfortable.

Never place a bouncer on an elevated surface

A baby could easily bounce their way off of a counter or tabletop. Never place your baby up high in their bouncer.

Never lift or move an inhabited bouncer

Though it may be tempting to pick up your baby while they're in the bouncer, don’t do it.

The U.S. Office of the Federal Register (OFR) reports that at least one fatality has occurred because an adult tried to transport an inhabited bouncer — the child fell and died of head trauma.

Never allow your baby to sleep in their bouncer

Sleep can be a dangerous time for infants. Even when restrained in their bouncer, a sleeping baby may move in such a way that causes them to suffocate. The OFR reports multiple cases of positional asphyxia in which a child was left to sleep in a bouncer.

If you choose to use your bouncer as a sleep aid, stay with your child the entire time, and watch them carefully. Once they become sleepy, transport your baby to a more appropriate sleeping area.

Expert tip
Babies do not have control over their resting muscles yet, so if a baby falls asleep in a baby bouncer and they are reclined at 30 to 45 degrees, their head can flop forward and stop their breathing.
BestReviews Baby and Child Expert

Limit time spent in the bouncer

Leaving your baby in their bouncer for too long isn’t healthy for their developing body. Specifically, the bones in the skull are still forming; holding them against a flat surface for hours at a time could lead to “flat head syndrome,” otherwise known as plagiocephaly.

A great way to lower the risk of plagiocephaly, according to Dr. Jay L. Hoecker of the Mayo Clinic, is to provide the child with supervised tummy time — supervised time in which an awake, alert infant is placed on their stomach in order to exercise the head, neck, and shoulder muscles.

You can also limit the time your baby spends in a bouncer by wearing your baby in a front baby carrier on your chest. This removes pressure from their head, allows them to be close to you for bonding, and helps to develop your baby’s neck muscles.

Note: The CDC offers helpful prevention tips that can help protect your child against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Best Bouncers for Babies
It is never a good idea to let your baby sleep on a bouncer, especially alone. Bouncers are for very young babies and falling asleep on them could cause strain on the baby’s back or difficulty in breathing due to slumped posture. Always supervise your baby in their bouncer and make sure they remain awake and alert while in the bouncer.

FAQ

Q: At what age can my baby begin using a bouncer, and at what age should they stop?

A: Most baby bouncers are designed for the first few months of life. Once your baby can roll over and sit up on their own, you should stop using the bouncer because they are strong enough to tip it over while they're inside of it.

Q: Can I use the bouncer outside?

A: You could certainly take a baby and their bouncer outside, but remember to place the apparatus on a flat surface away from potential hazards such as stair steps, swimming pools, loose pets, and so on. Sun shades are available on some baby bouncers to shield your baby’s vulnerable skin from the sun.

Q: How do you keep a baby bouncer clean?

A: If you buy a bouncer with a removable cover, it can probably be machine washed. (Check the label first.) If you buy a bouncer with waterproof fabric, you can easily wipe it down with a bit of dish soap and water on a washcloth.

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