A common question I have been asked is about the safety of suspended baby jumpers like the Jolly Jumper. Personally, both of my kids loved the jolly jumper from the start and would giggle almost the entire time they are in it. Over the years, there have been discussions about the possible dangers of suspended baby jumpers. One concern I have heard is that as their name implies they are literally supportive and therefore decrease the stimulus on bones and muscles. In contrast, activities like tummy time (placing a baby on their stomach when they are awake) and other forms of free play help the baby develop strong neck, shoulder and promote motor skills like crawling. There has also been concern that the positioning of legs in certain jumpers can affect the development of the hips. In addition for some enthusiastic jumpers (like my son George) there is a risk that while swinging freely in the doorway from side to side they can pinch their fingers or knock their head into the door frame.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that “infants who spend too much time in confining equipment such as car seats, swings, bouncy seats, exersaucers, or strollers may experience delayed motor skill development.”
Health Canada also recommends that if a infant is using a suspended baby jumper that the infant is always supervised, that the manufacturer’s recommendations (age, weight, physical abilities of the baby, dimensions and strength of door frame) are followed, and that the jumper is adjusted to the babies height
What do we do?
Both of my children loved jumping in their baby jumper and do so a few times a week. I will also admit that I find the jumper a bit of a sanity saver! When we use the jumper, I make sure I am close by and watching and limit the use to no more than 10 minutes at a time once per day.
This post was co-authored by Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc and Michelle Bischoff, MD, FRCSC, BScN