Is an exersaucer safe for your baby?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is also yes, if a few things are kept in mind.
Exersaucers or activity centers, create some confusion for parents because while compared to walkers, they are safer and more beneficial, there is also a wrong way to use exersaucers. To help with this, we put together a simple list of ways to maximise the benefits your baby gets from the exersaucer, so you put your mind at ease and hopefully put your feet up!
An exersaucer should be used for a maximum of 20 minutes per day.
Babies need a lot of free movement throughout the day to help with the development of their joints, muscles and motor skills, as well as mental stimulation. Using an exersaucer for a long time restricts this movement which could lead to issues as they grow. The recommended time for a baby to spend in an exersaucer is therefore 15 to 20 minutes. For this duration, exersaucers are perfectly safe, giving you a chance to finish up chores or just take a breather!
Your baby should be able to sit independently before using an exersaucer.
If your baby can sit without support or ideally, stand up while holding the crib or other furniture, this is the ideal time to start using an exersaucer. At this stage there is enough trunk strength to be able to sit in an exersaucer while maintaining good posture and helps with core strength and balance skills. The goal is to take the weight-bearing pressure off the knees and feet because if used too early, the little toes and muscles have to work extra hard and this could cause issues with development later.
Place a support below your baby’s feet to prevent dangling.
If you find that your baby’s feet aren’t reaching the floor, place a book or any other sturdy object under the feet for support rather than letting your baby tiptoe. Ideally, wait till your baby can easily touch the floor before using an exersaucer. Extended pressure on the toes and leg muscles, as we said above, isn’t beneficial to posture and walking correctly.
Buy exersaucers with detachable toys and convertible tables
This extends the usability of an exersaucer, like with our PortaPlay, so it works for younger babies and toddlers as well. If your baby isn’t quite ready to sit in it, the detachable toys help with providing mental stimulation during playtime. Once the toddler stage arrives, converting it to a table lets them stand at it and play or draw and so much more.
Interact with your baby as much as possible while using the exersaucer.
While a major benefit of exersaucers is to let you get 15 minutes to yourself or wrap up quick chores, babies love being talked to and played with even while they use the exersaucer. The extra stimulation helps them immensely. When you can, sit down with them, talk, read, sing, make up stories with the exersaucer toys!
At the end of the day, an exersaucer is useful, a safer alternative to walkers, and can go a long way in your baby’s development if used right. Do you have an exersaucer for your baby? How have you ensured your baby gets the most benefit out of it? Let us know in the comments below!