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Safety Guide for Bouncer Seats for Babies

 

Baby bouncer seats are often a good way for parents to soothe a fussy infant or to keep their child calm while they do another task nearby. But while infant bouncers are a favorite, there are some major safety concerns to be aware of when using them.

Between Jan. 1, 2006, and July 6, 2016, there were 347 incidents reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that involved baby bouncer seats. These events demonstrate how important it is to use these items in the proper manner.

Among the reported incidents, 12 resulted in infant deaths and 54 involved infant injuries. Most fatalities were a result of suffocation, usually because the bouncer tipped over and the baby landed on a soft surface. Injuries often occurred when baby bouncers were set atop an elevated surface, such as a kitchen counter, and the bouncer fell or tipped.

Oftentimes, dangerous situations like these can be avoided if parents use baby bouncer seats correctly. Here's what parents should know about using these devices:

Where to use baby bouncer chairs

Many reported incidents of infant injury or death while using baby bouncers were a result of improper placement. Baby bouncers should always be placed on the floor; never an elevated surface. That includes kitchen countertops, tables, couches or beds.

Baby bouncers should never be placed atop soft surfaces such as comforters. If the bouncer were to topple over and the baby land on the soft surface, there's increased risk of suffocation because the baby doesn't have the motor skills to roll over or lift his head up.

Baby bouncers must never be used as a car seat. Instead, infants should always be restrained by the appropriate car seat for his or her age and weight.

Baby bouncers must never be used as a car seat. Instead, infants should always be restrained by the appropriate car seat for his or her age and weight.

Baby bouncers should never be carried while the baby is inside. Some baby bouncers have carrying handles, and others have toy bars that might look like handles. Even if these are present, babies should be removed from the seat before the bouncer is moved, Consumer Reports explained.

When to stop using infant bouncers

Unless a bouncer is designed specifically for both baby and toddler use, infants outgrow their baby bouncers relatively quickly. As soon as a baby is capable of sitting up on her own and holding her head up, it's time to give up the baby bouncer.

Baby bouncers also have weight limitations, which may vary between models. Most have a maximum allowable weight of 18 to 30 pounds. Parents should check the weight restrictions on a baby bouncer before using one. A baby who weighs more than the maximum weight limit increases the chances of the bouncer tipping over, which can lead to injury.

Keeping baby safe in a baby bouncer seat

Parents should keep a close eye on their baby at all times when using a baby bouncer chair. That means staying in the same room as the baby and taking the time to remove the infant from the seat if they need to go into the other room, even for a minute. It also means not being distracted while the baby is in the bouncer.

Babies should be restrained while in their bouncers. Five-point harness systems are often regarded as the safest options, but some baby bouncers come with three-point systems which also improve safety. Parents should adjust the restraints so they fit snugly around the baby.

Baby bouncers can be excellent devices for helping a fussy baby fall asleep, but sleeping babies should be removed from the seat and placed into a crib. While it may be tempting to let an infant snooze in his baby bouncer, car seat or other comfy place, the crib is almost always the safest environment, as long as it's free of loose bedding, soft pillows and toys.

 

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