Infant swings are certainly not an essential item for young babies, but they provide a convenient place to set your baby down for a minute or two. Your baby will enjoy the sensation of movement, and an occupied baby gives you some time to get some chores done or go to the bathroom by yourself. Infant swings consist of a seat that hangs from a frame and moves forward and backward, side to side or both. Some also have hanging toys and play music. Infant swings are generally considered safe, as long as parents educate themselves about the safety issues before buying one.
Buying the Swing
Select a swing that meets current safety specifications, especially since some older models might have been recalled after discovering that certain parts posed a safety hazard. Check the model you're considering online to ensure that it is still safe to use. Also check to ensure that your swing has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), which indicates it has met independent safety standards.
All infant swings should include a safety harness to keep your baby in place. You'll find either a three-point harness, which connects a flap in between your baby's legs to straps around his waist, or a five-point harness, which adds straps over his shoulders. Five-point harnesses are preferable to three-point for optimal safety measures. Never leave your baby in a swing without being securely strapped in.
Location of Use
Always use your infant swing on a flat and level surface to eliminate the risk of tipping. It can topple over and hurt your baby in the process if used on raised surfaces, so always place the swing on the floor. Babies should always be supervised while in an infant swing, so place your baby close to where you plan to be.
Age and Size
Adhere to the size and weight limits determined by the manufacturer when buying and using an infant swing. Most swings have a maximum weight limit of 20 to 25 pounds because babies tend to outgrow the safety harness around this time. It's also dangerous to put a baby in a swing when he begins to wiggle or has the ability to climb out.
Be especially careful when using an infant swing with a newborn who hasn't yet developed good head control. The swing should recline back far enough to ensure that your baby's head isn't hanging forward against his chin, which can make it difficult for him to breathe.