Parents need baby seats because there are times you want your hands free to do stuff like unload the dishwasher or use the bathroom. A baby bouncer or baby chair can be a clutch piece of gear in your new-parent arsenal, but be sure to follow these baby chair safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Place an infant bouncer on the floor only, never on a table or counter.
- Don’t put a baby chair on a bed, couch or other soft surface, because suffocation can occur if it tips over.
- Use the restraints, making sure they fit securely, and don’t leave baby unattended.
- For bouncer seats, stop using them when your child can sit up alone, weighs 20 pounds or reaches the product’s maximum weight limit.
- Never use a baby seat for sleep; according to the AAP, infants ages four months and younger are “especially at risk because they might assume positions that can create risk of suffocation or airway obstruction.”
To encourage proper physical development, the American Occupational Therapy Association also suggests parents “limit the time your baby is constrained in swings, exersaucers, and other baby gear, and encourage active play to strengthen his muscles through tummy time.”
Occupational therapist Rachel Coley of Can Do Kiddo suggests aiming for 30 minutes or less each day, and also has a helpful video that explains how to tell if your kiddo is ready for a baby seat (note: it’s not just about head control!). Now that you’ve got the lowdown on baby seats and bouncers, here are a few to check out.
Best Baby Chairs and Baby Seats
If like so many parents, you want to stash away baby chairs when you're done, then this Fisher-Price one is for you.
Pros: Parents get all the benefits of a full-sized high chair in half the space with this baby chair from Fisher-Price. You get an infant high chair and toddler booster in one, which you can customize with two height adjustments and three recline positions.
Cons: The quality of cover can be dubious; there are reports of tears.
This baby seat and baby chair also doubles as a very cute and portable activity center.
Pros: This baby chair is ideal for babies who can already sit up on their own. It has a tray and toys that rotate, to keep your tot engaged. And it includes a spinner, a mover, and a rattle. Plus its wide legs ensure that it’s stable.
Cons: Once your kid outgrows it at roughly 24 months, you’re done.
This no-frills bouncy seat, which has a toy bar and optional vibrating feature, is approved from birth up to 20 pounds.
Pros: It’s a serious bargain, which is a bonus considering that babies only use bouncy seats for a limited period of time. The cheerful pattern is gender-neutral, and the fabric cover is easily machine washable.
Cons: Some parents felt that “you get what you pay for,” reporting issues such as uneven stitching (that caused the baby to lean to one side) and weak vibration.
It might be inflatable but this is no pool floatie: It's a supportive, entertaining spot for baby.
Pros: It’s lightweight, fairly well-priced and has features around the outer edge (such as crinkly fabric and flaps that lift) to help stimulate a baby’s developing senses. And because baby’s bottom makes contact with the floor, he or she can start to get a feel for what sitting actually feels like.
Cons: Some parents reported that the seat deflated quickly, and had a bad smell when first taken out of the box.
This seat, which has a weight limit of 25 pounds, is designed for babies who can hold their heads up unsupported but aren't yet able to climb out or walk.
Pros: The wide base allows baby to feel the ground beneath her, which helps with sitting practice. It comes with two toys, or you can swap in your own using the attached loops. And it folds flat for travel or storage.
Cons: It has a fairly small time window of use, and if your baby has chunky legs, it might be tricky to get her in and out of the seat.
This multi-use seat, which converts to a booster, can be used from when baby can hold his head up without help to 33 pounds. It also comes with six toys, a snack tray and a cup holder.
Pros: Although it’s on the pricier side, you’ll get a decent amount of mileage out of it, especially since there is an infant insert to help smaller babies fit more safely. There’s a rotating tray and activity arch to help keep babies entertained. When your little one is ready to join you at the table, straps attach to a regular chair, the toys come off and, voila, it’s a booster seat.
Cons: Parents said the seat was tricky to assemble and that the tray can come apart easily.
This elegant-looking bouncer offers full body support and can be used from birth (recommended minimum weight is 8 pounds) up until age 2. There are four different recline positions, and as your baby becomes a toddler, the fabric can be reversed so it's simply a comfortable chair.
Pros: Baby can bounce, thereby entertaining herself (win-win!). It’s also a stylish piece of baby gear you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have out, although it folds flat if you feel like tucking it away or bringing it on vacation.
Cons: The price is high, but the reviews are overwhelming positive, other than those who reported receiving what they believed were fake items.
This portable baby feeding seat is ideal for eating at the table, or for playtime on the floor.
Pros: Meant for babies six months and older (those who can already sit up), this baby seat has a removable feeding tray, and converts into a toddler seat. It attaches to dining chairs so your baby can sit with you at dinner.
Cons: The tray is too small for big family dinners. It’s good for snacks only.
Infantino's seat gives babies an engaging play space, coupled with their own seat. It comes with spinners, mirror play, and squeakers. You can slide the removable toy pods away to use the snack tray and cup holder. There are security straps so you can attach the seat to a chair.
Pros: This seat will last you a long time, because it can accommodate kids up to 33 pounds. The seat cushion is washable and wipeable, and the tray slides out to replace the toys when your baby is hungry.
Cons: No cons, except the reality that this doesn’t replace a high chair, nor was it meant to.
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