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A Guide to Buying a Baby Swing

 

Many people couldn't imagine early parenthood without their baby swing. Babies love their swings because they're comfortable, soothing and sometimes have fun toys attached or play mellow music. Parents love them because it allows them to set their baby down in a safe place so they can get back to washing the dishes, check their email or just give their arms a rest.

Here are the three most important categories to consider before purchasing a swing:

1. Safety

A few good indicators of a safe swing include Consumer Product Safety Commission Standards or Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certification. Some of the most important safety features to review include:

Sturdy base

Your baby swing should never tip over, and a wide base and a low center of gravity help keep the device sturdy. Swings should never be at risk of unintentionally folding. Swing legs that stick too far out could become a tripping hazard for other people in your house.

Weight limit

If your baby weighs more than the limit for a swing, it can become dangerous to use. Additionally, if your baby is close to or exceeds the maximum weight, the swinging functions won't work as well. Most baby swings have a minimum weight of 5.5 pounds and maximums of 30 pounds.

Harness

A five-point harness is safest but isn't required. If you opt for a swing that doesn't have a five-point harness, at a minimum look for one that has a hip restraint to keep your baby from wiggling out of the seat.

Power source

Some baby swings are completely manually operated, but many models are battery-powered and/or have an AC adapter. These are safe, but make sure the power source won't overheat.

Seat position

Most babies use their swings for about the first six months of life. Young babies can't hold their heads upright by themselves, so they need to be in the reclined position. Make sure you're choosing a swing that's built to support the baby in this way. When your baby is strong enough to hold up his head and sit up, he has outgrown the baby swing.

2. Entertainment

After safety, parents want a baby swing that'll keep a baby calm and happy. After all, if the baby doesn't like the swing, it won't offer much convenience or peace to your household.

Motion

There are a number of different motion options, swinging directions and speeds parents can find in various models. Some swings rock side-to-side as well as back and forth. Different speed settings might be helpful for various situations, such as calming a fussy baby or trying to get your little one down for a nap. Other models also offer vibration settings, giving your child yet another comforting experience.

Toys

Some swings have mobiles dangling from an overhead bar that babies love to look at, reach for or hit. Mirrors also fascinate babies; who is that handsome little one staring back at them?

Depending on how the toys are positioned, they can get in the way when you're trying to transfer your sleeping beauty from swing to crib.

Music

Music is more often found in battery-powered swings than manual versions. Some common sounds and songs include nature sounds or white noise akin to a sleeping sound machine.

Review the music options before you purchase a swing; your baby might have a favorite song, but you'll probably get sick of hearing it play on repeat.

3. Ease of use

Baby swings are meant to offer convenience to busy moms and dads, so if the swing is difficult to set up or use on a daily basis, it'll offer little help to you.

Simple to clean

Babies are messy. Look for a swing that has a removable seat cover that can be hand-washed or thrown into the washing machine.

Weight of the swing

Before you buy, pick up the swing and try carrying it. You should be able to transport the swing between rooms or outdoors so you can bring baby wherever you go.

Power source options

You might not find an outlet in some locations where you bring the swing, which means a swing with just an AC adapter may have limited usefulness. Finding models that have a battery-powered option can help make the swing helpful wherever you bring it. Using a model that has rechargeable batteries is even better.

 

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