Many parents view the exersaucer as a lifesaver. It keeps the baby busy with lots of toys!
There’s a problem with it though, a lot of things can go wrong with an exersaucer.
The most important factor determining whether or not you should use it is when to put baby in exersaucer. Don’t worry, I’m here to explain everything you need to know about them.
What Is An Exersaucer?
You can say that an exersaucer is an advanced version of the baby walker. A much safer version, if I may add.
It is made of plastic or other materials, featuring a seat for your baby to sit on, toys that may be detachable, and legs that look like a saucer.
Your baby can play in it for some time but it can hinder their development. Especially if you start using it too soon or too often.
I’m a mum too and I just have to tell you that you have to be careful when using an exersaucer. Don’t rush the process, don’t use it too much. You’ll be glad you did later on.
I’ve emphasized the importance of carefulness when using an exersaucer for a baby, so you may be wondering how you can do it. Well, the first step is making sure you don’t introduce an exersaucer to your baby too early.
Is Your Baby Ready For An Exersaucer?
This isn’t a hard step at all. There are signs to look out for that will show whether or not your baby is ready for an exersaucer. Remember that doing this too soon poses a great risk for your baby’s development and posture, and it may be permanent.
1.Baby Can Hold Head Up
If your little one can’t hold their head up without assistance then they are probably not ready for an exersaucer.
The exersaucer is not designed to support your baby’s head so it can lead to handicaps in their body and it may be permanent.
I’m guilty of trying to use an exersaucer for my baby too soon. I noticed some deformities after a while and rushed her to the hospital. Luckily it wasn’t too serious and got corrected with a few treatments. If you don’t want to experience that you should watch out for your little one holding up their head on their own.
2.Baby Can Sit Or Stand
I don’t just mean when your baby is trying to sit on their own but when they actually can – that is they don’t use their arms for support.
As for the standing, your baby doesn’t have to stand on its own. Once you start seeing them holding up themselves to stand, it’s time for an exersaucer. Doing so earlier will delay the development of your baby’s muscles because – as we said before – exersaucers do not offer enough support to your baby’s legs.
Your baby sitting or trying to stand is a clear sign that your baby is ready for an exersaucer. Now, they can focus on building their skills by playing with the toys in their exersaucer.
There’s an age range for when it’s time for your baby to use an exersaucer. This is because the above milestones usually happen within a certain range.
Your baby typically will be ready to use an exersaucer between 4 – 7 months old. However, this range can be accurate or wrong. It depends on how fast and well your baby grows. They could be ready for an exersaucer earlier or later.
Just observe your little one and you’ll be able to tell whether or not it’s time for an exersaucer.
4. Weight And Height
If your baby is not up to about 7 pounds then you probably should steer clear from an exersaucer. This is because it won’t have a strong hold on your baby so it results in more baby accidents. S
Just like weight, there is a minimum height measurement for your baby to use an exersaucer. Once your baby’s legs can touch the bottom of an exersaucer, get ready to acquaint them with it.
This is another reason why age ranges don’t always determine when to put your baby in an exersaucer. Your baby might grow taller than most or not as much as most babies. If you follow that age range there’s a chance you’re still risking using an exersaucer too early.
When Should I Use An Exersaucer?
Now, this depends on you. Taking care of a baby can be a lot of work from bathing them to feeding them to playing with them. It can be exhausting.
I put my baby in an exersaucer when I have to cook, do some simple house chores or go take a quick shower.
You can put your baby in an exersaucer even if you don’t have to go run some errands. It gets the baby off your hands for a little while.
How To Introduce Exersaucer To Your Baby
The best way to introduce an exersaucer to your baby is gradual.
My baby did not accept an exersaucer at the start and trust me you don’t want that experience.
Start placing your baby in the exersaucer at short intervals. Put your little one there for 2 minutes, as soon as they can tolerate it, increase it to 5 minutes. That’s the right way to introduce your baby to an exersaucer.
Anything other than that will have you listening to the non-stop cries of your little one. I’m telling you this again, you do not want that.
When To Stop Using Exersaucer
More often than not you won’t have to wean your baby from an exersaucer. They would get tired of it themselves. You can’t possibly expect your little one to remain confined and stationary when they just hit the walking milestone!
See, that’s a perfect time to stop using an exersaucer. As soon as your little one starts to take small steps, say bye-bye to that exersaucer.
How Often Can Your Baby Use An Exersaucer
Using an exersaucers more times than you’re supposed to can result in just as many developmental problems as using it too soon.
Keep your baby in an exersaucer for 15 – 20 minutes. Any time longer than that is not healthy for your baby’s posture and growth.
Also, never use an exersaucer more than twice a day. Make sure your baby gets in other activities like tummy time in their day that facilitate their development.
Is Exersaucer Good Or Bad For My Baby?
How you use an exersaucer typically determines whether it is of benefit to your baby. For a clearer understanding, I’ve curated a list of the benefits and disadvantages of using an exersaucer.
- It gives you time to do other things in the house or quickly run an errand.
- Your baby is less likely to get injured since an exersaucer stays in one place.
- While your baby plays with the bright-colored toys, their skills develop better and more efficiently.
I’ve done a lot of research on this and I found that. (2)
- If your baby spends most of their waking hours in an exersaucer, they may not be able to balance themselves when they’ve gotten out. Some babies also face challenges when trying to stand upright without the aid of an exersaucer.
- Exersaucers can lead to deformities in your baby’s posture.
- An exersaucer will never offer your baby the same level of comfort they would get on a couch or bed.
- A baby can develop “container syndrome” If they sit in an exersaucer for a long time. A flat head, tightness in the neck area, and delay in muscle development are all associated with this syndrome.
If you can use an exersaucer properly then you won’t have to worry about its disadvantages. That means you can’t just leave your baby in an exersaucer while you have some alone time – even though that’s what we all crave.
Tips To Use An Exersaucer
I have a short list of tips for you when using an exersaucer. You can even search YouTube for some relevant videos that show you the process too.
- Never leave your baby in an exersaucer without adult supervision. Place the exersaucer wherever you are. If you’re cooking, the exersaucer can be set in a safe place in the kitchen.
- Make sure to lock the exersaucer in place so it doesn’t collapse when you place your baby in it.
- Play with your baby while they are in the exersaucer. This will help them enjoy the activity center better.
- Don’t let your baby stand on their toes not completely flat footed when using an exersaucer. It can put pressure on their ankles, or knees and again result in a deformity. Instead, use a pillow to support your little one’s feet when they are in an exersaucer.
- If you buy an exersaucer then find out your baby is not ready for it. You can have your baby play with the toys from outside the exersaucer or detach them if possible. At least just before they are ready to go in.
says that these stationary activity centers are a safer alternative to mobile baby walkers.
There is still a high chance of things going wrong and causing harm to your baby. However, if you’re meticulous about the use of exersaucer you can avoid these dangers.
Before I end this guide, let me answer a few questions that you may have hovering in your mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can An Exersaucer Tip Over?
This depends on how active your baby is. If your baby moves a lot then you should never leave them unattended in an exersaucer. It will surprise you to find a crying baby on a fallen exersaucer.
2. Which exersaucer is best for my baby?
There are lots of stores that sell exersaucers made by different brands. Before you buy one, you should make adequate research about it. Check the reviews, if they’re positive and check whether the exersaucer suits your baby.
One of my favorites is the evenflo exersaucer moovin and groovin activity center. I used it for my last baby and she loved it until she didn’t as soon as the walking began.
3. How Do I Clean An Exersaucer?
You should know that babies can create a huge mess. If this so happens with an exersaucer, follow these simple cleaning steps:
- Wash the exersaucer seat either with a washing machine (check if it’s machine washable) or by hand.
- Detach toys and soak them in water and mild soap for an hour.
- Wipe the whole exersaucer with a rag dipped in dilute soapy water as the toys are soaking.
- If there are toys that won’t detach, use the same solution in the previous step to scrub the toys. Do it with an old toothbrush so you can get into all the nooks and crannies of the toys.
Regularly clean your baby’s exersaucer whether they made a mess in it or not.
Remember to ensure your baby is having fun while staying safe in the exersaucer! If you learned a thing or two from this guide, hit the comment section as I would be happy to hear your thoughts!
- Injuries associated with infant walkers, (2001, Sep 01). The American Academy of Pediatrics https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/108/3/790/66541/Injuries-Associated-With-Infant-Walkers
- Anisha Nair, (2018, Sep 25). Exersaucers and your baby – good or bad?. First cry parenting https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/108/3/790/66541/Injuries-Associated-With-Infant-Walkers