Courtesy of Anne Vorrasi

Are Jumpers Bad For Babies? Experts Say Time Limits Are Crucial

Ad failed to load

Unless you're in the early childhood education or medical professions, it can be really hard 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. It's especially difficult when family and friends use or encourage certain baby gear. You may have heard that Exersaucers and baby jumpers are items of concern, but really, are jumpers bad for babies? Here's a closer look at what you have to consider.

According to Chicago physical therapist Dr. Sajani Parikh, DPT, jumpers are totally safe. "Jumpers are a great place to a put a child for entertainment, or, you know, if you need to use the bathroom," she 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." The 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. And, because the child has to lean forward to stabilize her body, the use of the glute muscles are decreased. Essentially, overuse of jumpers and Exersaucers can delay or reverse the natural process of development.

Ad failed to load

Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago mentioned another factor that contributes to health care professionals not recommending jumper use — 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. This is because babies in jumpers or Exersaucers don't get to experience appropriate weight bearing and weight shifting needed for walking or crawling independently.

Ad failed to load

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute also noted the possible increase in hip dysplasia in babies mis- or over-using various baby devices (baby carriers, jumpers, Exersaucers, walkers, and molded seating items). These items put hips in an unhealthy position, especially when used for an extended period of time. In fact, any device that restrains 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.

We all know how hard it is to get anything done with a baby around, so having a jumper or Exersaucer around might be handy for bathroom breaks, a quick chore, or just a chance for a 10-minute rest. But, beyond that, safe, open floor play is best for your little one. And, if you need your little one contained and safe for a longer period of time, consider a portable crib (I love the Joovy Room2 for its larger footprint) or playard (this Summer Infant Playard is awesome for both indoor and outdoor use), 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 get dinner ready or enjoy a drink on the patio is pretty important, too.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

5 Parenting Habits That Increase Your Chances Of Successfully Potty-Training Your Child

From starting solids to learning to walk, every childhood milestone presents its own unique set of challenges — but this is especially true of potty training. Indeed, the very thought strikes fear into the heart of many a toddler parent, particularly…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Getting Pregnant Might Mean Losing The Plus-Size Body I Love

For the last two years, I haven’t been my body’s biggest champion. I’ve gained 50 pounds. The stress of helping a parent get sober, a house purchase, and a new job got the best of me. But now, at 36, with talks between my husband and I about having a…
By Loren Kleinman

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger