Some parents consider a swing one of the most valuable pieces of gear for their babies. Others believe these swings aren’t worth the money, as they simply aren’t needed. Both opinions could be true as some babies enjoy the swing while others don’t.
Infant swings can offer a few benefits, although some babies like it, and others don’t.
The rocking movement makes the baby feel as if is in the womb again, creating a feeling of safety. The extra features like music and toys help the baby stay entertained.
Fussy babies, including those who have colics and acid reflux may find the swing soothing. Swings also provide some arm rest for the parents.
Swings are not a substitute for an infant bed and should be used sparingly when the baby has a nap.
Choosing a safe swing and using it according to the instructions is very important.
If you decide to get an infant swing, there are important factors to consider to ensure the baby is safe. Read on to learn the pros and cons, how to choose an infant swing, and more tips.
Benefits of using an infant swing
If you're considering an infant swing, here is the list of benefits it can bring:
- Calming effect. Swings are enjoyed by the babies, as they provide constant motion. Movement is soothing and calming for the baby, as it reminds them of the time spent in the womb.
- Arm rest for parents. Parents also get a break to rest their arms while the baby is in the swing.
- Upright position. Babies with colics or acid reflux may feel better in a swing. Both conditions make a baby cry and get fussy. The baby must stay in an upright position, reducing the acid reflux. The swinging motion helps calm the baby’s tummy if he or she is colicky.
- Entertainment. Swings can entertain the baby. Many swings come with extra features like music and toys , keeping your baby busy and entertained. As your baby plays with these objects and listens to the music, they develop new skills, contributing to their development.
- Quick nap. Baby can get a quick nap in the swing. Many babies enjoy a nap in the swing. An occasional short nap in a swing is okay. However, it would be best if your baby is moved from the swing to their bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping babies on a firm surface during sleep to ensure safety.
- Balance development. Swings stimulate and help develop the vestibular system. The vestibular sense involves structures from the inner ear and responds to movement. A well developed vestibular sense is important for proper balance, coordination, muscle tone and some elements of vision.
Infant swing – the drawbacks
Since some of the key benefits of infant swings are mentioned above, it is worth mentioning the cons. Some swings can be expensive. Although many swings cost between $100 and $200, some can range in price up to several hundred dollars. As babies grow quickly, they won’t be able to use a swing for a long time.
Some models had been recalled due to safety concerns, and there were reports of baby injuries as a result of using a swing. If you buy a second-hand swing, make sure you check the model was not recalled and you use it according to the instructions.
Depending on the style and shape, swings can be quite bulky and take up space. Whether the swing uses battery or electricity, they do require a lot of power. Finally, spending too much time in the swing can have negative impacts on your baby’s health.
How to safely use an infant swing
Swings come in all different forms, shapes and prices. Some are powered by electricity, some by batteries, and some by both.
Consider the following tips:
- Don't overuse it. Swings are not designed as a substitute for an infant bed. They should be used sparingly during the day to keep the baby comfortable and entertained.
- Evaluate the safety. Look for a swing that meets the safety recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you get a second-hand swing, make sure it comes with instructions and can be safely used.
- Follow instructions. Use the swing following the manufacturer instructions, making sure it is assembled safely and correctly.
- Evaluate the baby's age. Use the infant swing until your baby is old enough to roll over.
- Don't use add-ons. If you want a swing with extra features like toys or mobiles, buy one that offers these tools. Do not add them afterward, as they may not be safely installed and injure your baby.
- Take precautions. Keep the swing on safe, sturdy surfaces at all times when the baby uses it. Use the safety straps and harnesses.
Finally, avoid excess use of the swing. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommended limiting the amount of the baby spends in a swing, car seat, bouncy seat, or carrier. If your baby spends too much time in one position, there is a risk of developing a condition called a flat head syndrome. Furthermore, sitting too much in a swing or seat (in an upright position) could lead to breathing difficulties in babies. For this reason, parents should provide tummy time a few times a week. Always put your infant to sleep on firm surfaces, suitable for their age, in a safety-certified infant bed.