Are baby jumpers safe? Here's what parents should know.
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Here's Why You Need To Limit Your Baby's Time In Their Jumper

Experts reveal the best safety precautions to take.

Originally Published: 

Unless you're in the early childhood education or medical professions, it can be really difficult to know what's best and safest for your babies when it comes to toys, activities, and gear. It often takes us a lot of research to figure out what to buy, how to use it, and what to avoid — and there are plenty of parenting opinions out there. It's especially tough when family and friends use or encourage certain baby gear that you’ve heard mixed things about. For example, you may have heard that Exersaucers and baby jumpers are items of concern, but is that just the opinion of some, or are jumpers bad for babies, period?

As with many toys made for babies, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to jumpers and Exersaucers, and there is no one clear-cut answer about safety. There is, however, plenty of medical expert-backed information and advice to take into account and follow.

If not used properly, jumpers can be dangerous and cause injury to babies, which is why many medical experts are wary about recommending them to parents. Romper spoke to the pros to get everything you need to know about how to use jumpers safely, along with the potential risks they may pose.

Risks of using a baby jumper


Jumpers and Exersaucers are convenient tools during busy days. “As parents, these inventions can allow us to have a much-needed break that lets children play, have fun, and stay engaged as we keep an eye on them,” Dr. Sami, M.D. and Dr. Ana, D.O., the pediatricians behind the social media platform The PediPals (who asked to be referred to by their first names for safety reasons), tell Romper. “As pediatricians, though, we are trained to identify and prevent any potential harm to children, and that unfortunately makes us generally not big fans of either. We do not usually recommend either, as these products have been known to cause injuries if not used properly.”

Head injury

The reason a lot of medical professionals tend to be wary of parents using jumpers and Exersaucers is that when they are not used correctly or when children are not monitored while in them, there can be some serious risks. “Often, head injury is one in the case the unit malfunctions, they fall over, or they hit something nearby while playing,” Drs. Ana and Sami explain. “Neck strain and calf strain can also occur.”

Decreased motor development

Another factor that contributes to health care professionals not recommending jumper use is the idea that the more time your baby is spending in a jumper or Exersaucer, the less time they are spending on the floor actually developing their core muscles and motor development skills. Plenty of free play and tummy time is needed for babies to develop strong trunk control and alignment. Studies have shown that increased activity center use actually results in decreased motor development and control. “As with any toy that makes your child able to move while staying in their current state of development, it can take longer to encourage them to walk independently,” Drs. Ana and Sami tell Romper.

Hip injury

Additionally, there’s the possible increase in hip injury in babies if they misuse or overuse jumpers and Exersaucers. “Many times, jumpers suspend your baby in a position that is not ideal for their hip joints, which can increase the risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation,” Drs. Ana and Sami explain. That unhealthy position, in addition to extended periods of use with a jumper, can really endanger your baby. In fact, any device that restrains a baby's hips and legs in an unnatural position can risk abnormal hip development. While time limits are crucial for items like jumpers and Exersaucers, vigilance in using baby carriers properly and safely is also extremely important.

How to use a baby jumper safely

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All of that being said, while Drs. Sami and Ana don’t typically recommend using such gear, they also understand that many parents will choose to use jumpers and Exersaucers — and if that’s the case, they should understand what to keep in mind in order to reduce potential risks.

Limit baby’s time in jumper

"Jumpers are a great place to put a child for entertainment, or, you know, if you need to use the bathroom," Chicago-based physical therapist Dr. Sajani Parikh, DPT, tells Romper. "With that said, it's recommended that things like jumpers and Exersaucers are only used 10 to 15 minutes a day at the most."

One reason behind the strict moderation has to do with the positioning of the child. Because of the way babies are seated, largely leaning forward and on their tippy toes, there is added stress to the ankle joint and the gastrocnemius muscle group (muscles along the back of the leg, running from the ankle to knee). "This could contribute to future toe-walking," Parikh explains.

Check product recalls

Other things parents should do include “making sure that the product is not recalled, that the jumper is not suspended from the door or ceiling, that your baby is the right size and weight as well as able to move their head and sit well unsupported, and that their feet can reach the floor,” according to Drs. Sami and Ana. “As always, less is more.”

Many parents know how hard it is to get anything done with a baby around, so having a jumper or Exersaucer around can be handy for bathroom breaks, a quick chore, or just a chance for a 10-minute rest. But, beyond that, open floor play is best for your little one. And, if you need your baby contained and safe for a longer period of time, consider a portable crib or a small gated and baby-proofed room. Of course, your baby should be supervised at all times. But having the option of keeping them corralled, safe, and close to you while you prepare dinner or enjoy a coffee on the patio is pretty important, too.

Study referenced:

A.L. Abbott & D. J. Bartlett (2002). Infant motor development and equipment use in the home. Child: Health, Care, and Development, 27(3), 295-306.


Dr. Sami, M.D., of the PediPals

Dr. Ana, D.O., of the PediPals

Dr. Sajani Parikh, DPT, Chicago-based physical therapist

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