First-time parents always find joy in seeing their babies jump up and down either in their exersaucers or even baby jumpers. And while the scientific community is divided as to the real benefits of these infant gadgets, baby jumpers remain an important gift item for baby showers or even for the holiday season and special occasions like birthdays.
We are confident that you will love our list of the most popular baby jumpers this year.
How We Chose the Top Baby Jumpers in Our List
While we do recognize the apprehension of child health experts as well as child developmentalists regarding the use of bouncers and exersaucers among young infants, we simply cannot discount the fact that there are so many parents out there who buy these gadgets for their babies. And many have attested to the fact that their babies “seem” to enjoy the moments they are jumping while being suspended in mid-air.
As such, in coming up with the top 10 jumpers for babies or infants, we had to rely on the experiences of Moms and Dads as to the use of these playthings by their very young children. We had to make sure that we fully understood their sentiments and if they had any concerns regarding a particular product. This became our preliminary screening point for the hundreds of exersaucers and bouncers in the market.
Once the number of products has been significantly reduced by way of customer feedback and reviews, we then subjected each one to a careful scrutiny of their development benefits to young children. The addition of built-in features had to be studied closely and compare them to the developmental tasks expected of this particular age group of children. If there are obvious discrepancies in the developmental appropriateness of the product, it was stricken off our list. Since we are already looking at the developmental appropriateness of the plaything, we also had to examine the quality as well as safety of the product. We took note of any small objects or parts which may potentially endanger babies because of the natural tendency of very young children to be orally fixated.
Lastly, we had to consider the company’s reputation. While we wanted to include relatively new industry players, insufficient information as to their credibility prevents us from including many of them. We surely don’t want to share with you a product which is manufactured by a company with a rather shady reputation.
It is no wonder then that this coming Black Friday madness, ushering in the season of gift-giving, parents and other consumers will be looking for the most popular baby jumper they could find. These can be like modified walkers complete with built-in electronic learning features or even those that are modeled after serious bungee jumpers attached to either the ceiling or the wall. If you are not going to make the decision now, you might as well end up with a mediocre-quality, poorly-designed, and unsafe jumper for your young child come Black Friday. So, what can you do?
For starters, you might want to take a closer look at our list of the 10 most popular baby jumpers that parents have been raving about for some time now. At the very least, even if you’re not going to buy yet, you will already have an idea of what to prepare for come holiday season. Or, if your friend’s baby shower event is just around the corner and you don’t mind spending several tens of dollars on a gift, then our shortlist of the top 10 baby jumpers will be especially beneficial.
Baby Bouncers and Exersaucers – Beneficial for Babies or Not?
There was a time when the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a warning to parents against the use of baby walkers especially those on wheels because of the injuries that was noted in more than 8,000 infants every year related to the use of such devices. The injuries cited included falls, burns, drowning, and poisoning. What is truly surprising is the statement regarding the lack of developmental benefits of walkers to babies. In fact, the AAP study says that, contrary to what toy manufacturers say, baby and infant walkers can lead to significant delays in both mental and motor development. The same study revealed that strategies to help reduce the incidence of injuries such as the inclusion of warning labels, the installation of stair gates, the institution of stricter adult supervision during babies’ walker use, and mass education of the public are largely insufficient.
So, if baby walkers with wheels are indeed counterproductive to the development of young children, what can be done?
The American Society for Testing and Materials, better known as ASTM, in response to the AAP recommendation, revised its standards for the design and manufacture of walkers and came up with ASTM F977-96. This addressed the need for safer walkers. However, the AAP still provides a “use-at-your-own-risk” stance regarding baby walkers. They did recommend something else, however – a stationary activity center.
What the AAP is saying is that our babies are a lot safer with stationary carriers complete with built-in learning activities than those that are mobile. But this does not essentially answer the question most people have about bouncers and exersaucers.
These gadgets are stationary so there should be no danger of very young children falling or getting injured. So this should be beneficial for them, right?
Unfortunately, while baby bouncers and exersaucers are fun, physical therapists say these gadgets don’t do much to help babies’ optimum motor development. They say that children using these bouncers and exersaucers typically hold infants’ hips in an unusually extended position. This relaxes the hips and consequently and disproportionately grows the muscles of the calf instead of the core muscles and the pelvic region. This leads to the overdevelopment of the calf muscles and the underdevelopment of their hips and quads which are essential in learning to walk. The end result is that children may not be able to learn how to walk properly.
Sure children love to bounce by propelling themselves with their toes. Experts again say that this inadvertently teaches children to use their toes rather than the plantar surface of their feet. When they grow up, they have a higher likelihood of waling on their toes. And if you don’t have any aspirations of turning your child into a world-class ballerina, then this is not really good.
Physiotherapists, child motor developmentalists, and pediatricians alike also say that these types of children’s gadgets negate the ability of a baby to learn to walk because he or she literally cannot see his or her feet. What happens is that, because babies cannot see their feet while they are attempting to walk, there is no visual feedback that tells their young brains they are stepping in the correct manner or that they are moving appropriately. When they see their feet as they walk, their brains are integrating and processing all of these information together with their kinesthetic and proprioceptive senses so that they will learn next time how to walk properly. Experts ask how babies can learn to walk properly if the visual feedback to their brains is literally absent.
Does this mean many parents are simply not concerned about the safety and development of their children?
Here’s the good news. Experts agree that while these gadgets can lead to such difficulties in the motor development of very young kids, they can still be used provided for brief periods of time only. Child developmentalists recommend the use of such devices as long as the child does not use it for more than 30 minutes, preferably only within 15 to 20 minutes, every day. This should minimize the issues seen by leaders of infant development. So, allowing our babies to sit and enjoy their time on their baby jumpers for not longer than half an hour every day should be beneficial especially if the jumper you’re going to buy is one that has plenty of learning activities.
This is where today’s infant jumpers clearly have the advantage over their predecessors. Luckily, major toy manufacturers are heeding the call of professionals so that they can also help redesign their products. By integrating a variety of educational features in these devices, young children can enhance their mental and cognitive abilities which is crucial in the first year of life. With these learning activities, infants learn about spatial relations, causal relationships, and simple problem solving. Their cognitive capacities are also enhanced a lot better using as many as their senses as possible. This helps the young brain in its integrative processes so that it will be ready for more complex mental, intellectual, and rational processes.
The Bottom Line
Baby jumpers or bouncers and exersaucers can be useful instruments in helping our young children develop to their utmost potential. While these types of infant products are very popular among today’s parents, it won’t hurt to also listen to what child experts have to say. They understand a lot of things about children’s growth and development that most of us clearly don’t. Just because we see our young kids having a blast with their bouncer doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s already good for them. The damage we are causing is not something that can be seen right away. These will only manifest when our children are already grownups. By then, we will have to seek corrective treatments and rehabilitation which, unfortunately, will cost us more than limiting our children’s playtime with these gadgets to just several minutes a day. Besides, we believe that Mom and Dad are still baby’s most cherished “toy”. Nothing can ever replace the time and care we give to our kids. Sure, we may also be tired. But, that’s exactly what parenthood means – sacrificing ourselves for our children’s benefit.