You should not put your child in a jumper until they are 4-6 months old. Your little one should be able to hold their head up on their own, support their trunk, and have their feet touching the base of the jumper before you place your child in a jumper.
The baby jumper, also known as the exersaucer, jolly jumper, or the “keep the baby busy” device.
It is recommended that you introduce some exercise-friendly toys (activity mat, play gym, etc.) when your little one is between 4-6 weeks of age. While baby jumpers certainly fall into the exercise-friendly category, the recommended age is about 4-6 months for putting your baby in a jumper.
Baby jumpers require your little one to be stable in an upright position instead of other exercise-friendly toys that can be enjoyed during tummy time.
Deciding when to put your baby in a jumper is ultimately based on your child’s development and your best judgment as a parent.
But 4-6 months is a good estimated timeline for when they will be able to safely enjoy the jumper.
Developmental Milestones to Ensure Safety
Babies love exercise-friendly toys like baby jumpers. It is easy to want to put your baby in a jumper at an early age, but keep in mind that safety is the priority.
A baby jumper is very similar to a ride at the amusement park (in fact, they won’t know the difference) so make sure they can do all these things before allowing them to board the baby jumper.
- Demonstrate good head control by being able to hold their head up without assistance. Usually, babies begin to develop the ability to hold their head up at three months of age, but this is not completely developed until 5-6 months.
- Can support the trunk (chest, back, shoulders, and abdomen). They should be starting to crawl or be able to sit up on their own.
- Tall enough to sit in the jumper correctly (i.e., no dangling feet or bent legs). If you can adjust the jumper to help them sit correctly, then that is fine.
The typical baby jumper age limit is around 12 months of age, dependent on your child’s weight and the suggested weight limit of your baby jumper.
Most babies will get to enjoy using a jumper for about 6 months if they start using it between 4-6 months of age.
Although, once they begin walking, they will likely lose interest in the baby jumper.
Baby Jumpers Aren’t Recommended For
- Premature babies
- Infants with hip dysplasia or other orthopedic conditions
- Those with hypotonia (low muscle tone)
- Babies with hypertonic (high muscle tone)
Of course, your child’s doctor knows your baby and can make the best suggestion for their specific case.
Other activities like tummy time or stationary activity centers will still contribute to your baby’s development at an early age without the repetitive jumping motion.
Benefits of Baby Jumpers
- They contribute to babies’ development of lower leg muscles.
- (Most) babies love being in a jumper. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t.
- Jumpers are a perfect time for parents to be hands-free for a few minutes.
- Are exercise-friendly and allow your little some time to use up energy.
Baby Jumper Warnings
Baby jumpers have come a long way from their original design, which consisted of a hoop suspended by an elastic strap.
Imagine putting your baby in that. The safety and design of baby jumpers have greatly improved over time, but this doesn’t mean they are foolproof.
Like many good and fun things in life, putting your baby in a jumper comes with safety guidelines you should follow.
- Never put your baby in a jumper for more than 20 minutes during the day, and not for all 20 minutes at a time. Even though putting your baby in a jumper is the perfect time for you to get things done, baby jumpers were never meant for periods of extended use. So be strategic with your 20 minutes throughout the day.
- Always supervise your little one while they are in the jumper.
- Put the jumper in an open space. One free of any potential hazards.
- It is difficult for a baby to have good posture while in the jumper. Make sure the jumper is at the correct height and is well-padded.
- Putting your baby in a jumper can delay walking as they lean a tip-toe pattern of movement. The chance of this is low if you only put your baby in a jumper for 20 minutes or less during the day.
- Baby jumpers contribute to babies’ development of lower-leg muscles, but not the upper legs, trunk, or hips.
- Babies cannot see their feet when they bounce. This ability to see their feet is important for the visual feedback they need when learning a new movement. While putting your baby in a jumper might contribute to your baby’s development, it will not “teach them to walk.”
- Babies often jump too forcefully (and chaotically), so it will not teach them the slow coordinated movements needed for walking.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper baby jumper assembly.
- Follow suggested age and weights limits for the baby jumper. Each baby jumper can vary slightly on these specifications.
Good Baby Jumpers
- Made by a reputable manufacturer and has (mostly) positive user reviews.
- Are washable
- Are well-padded
- Go on the floor. Door frame jumpers are not recommended due to safety concerns with children hitting the door frame’s sides if they get bouncing too much.
- Are stationary. Baby walkers with wheels are dangerous, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has banned the sale and use of them.
- Have several colorful, multi-sensory toys to help your child learn at an early age.
- Many baby jumpers also light-up, play music or make fun sounds.
- Have quality straps. Poor strap quality may cause an accident. Many baby jumper recalls are due to a strap related defect.
- Have adjustable seat heights.
- Have a seat that your little one fits snugly inside, without feeling too confined.
- May have a Bosu type ball or another platform type base to cushion a baby’s feet from pounding the ground and position them at the correct height.
- Have fun themes like jungle, space, or fun woodland creatures.
- Don’t have exposed springs or areas where a little one could easily pinch their fingers.
Tummy time still contributes to babies’ development way more than a jumper will. Jumpers only develop lower-leg muscles, while the upper legs, trunk, and hips are most important for walking.
Jumpers offer so much support, while during tummy time, your little one is unsupported. This means they have to work their whole body to move, not just their lower-leg muscles.
Stationary activity centers are another good option instead of a baby jumper. Several different types of stationary activity centers enable your little one to be upright in a seat. They closely resemble a baby jumper but without the bouncing capabilities.
Hands-Free Time for Mom and Dad
Baby jumpers have earned a bit of a bad reputation in recent years. Of course, safety is the priority, but many things carry a risk.
While baby jumpers may not be considered a baby essential, don’t be too quick to dismiss them. Baby jumpers do still have their purpose and place in the world.
Most babies love using them, and they provide parents a few minutes of hands-free time.
Suppose you consider a baby jumper to give yourself some hands-free time while offering your baby a different view.
In that case, you may want to consider investing in a well-made, comfortable baby carrier that is safe for longer periods. If you use a baby carrier, you can go anywhere since the baby will be attached to you wherever you go.
You will still need to supervise them, of course (babies love to grab things and put them in their mouth), but it is easier the closer they are to you.