In this review feature, we check out some of the best baby swings available. Whether you’re goal is to sooth your baby to sleep with gentle swinging or entertain your baby during the day, a baby swing is a wonderful piece of baby gear. Babies love the rocking motion before nap time or bed time. One of the best things about swings for babies is they are hands-free. You get to take a well-deserved break from lugging that little drool factory around.
We begin with a discussion about the differences between baby swings and other types of baby gear such as activity centers and jumperoos. Then, we talk about the benefits of baby swings and why they have become so popular among parents. We wrap up with our baby swing reviews section, where we take an in-depth look at the best baby swings of this year.
Types of Baby Equipment: Swings, Jumpers, Exersaucers, and Bouncers
Things have grown somewhat more complicated in the baby gear department. The great thing about this is you have more choices than ever for your baby. You get to choose exactly what type of product you’re looking for depending on your requirements. Furthermore, more competition and products means lower prices. That is always a welcome change when it feels like practically all your money is being funneled to raising your little love bug.
While baby swings aren’t the most elaborate inventions ever, there are a few distinct designs that make each better at doing different things. Here, we break down the designs and include an illustration of the different options. Most people get these pretty mixed up, because of the subtle differences. Sometimes someone may be talking about a baby swing but really they are talking about a baby bouncer.
#1 Baby Swings
Baby swings swing back and forth without requiring your baby to move. The baby swing category is the largest and most common piece of baby equipment outside of the staples such as a crib. A baby swing can be a lifesaver. The swinging motion works magic on many a cranky baby. They are freestanding units which essentially duplicate the rhythmic rocking motion of being cradled in the arms and rocked. Some say it mimics the rocking motion of the womb as well. Be warned, however, that not all babies enjoy the rocking motion of a baby swing. It is a good idea to let your baby try out a friend’s swing before you go all in and purchase one. They are not terribly expensive ranging from $50-200, but most the best baby swings are over $100. Most manufacturers recommend their swings for newborn to very young babies between 15 and 25 pounds.
#2 Baby Bouncers
Baby bouncers will bounce in response to your baby’s wiggly movements in the seat part of the bouncer. Like baby swings, these are for younger babies as well. Bouncers come before the less restricting baby jumpers.
#3 Baby Jumpers & Jumperoos
A baby jumper is a hoop that is suspended by elastic straps, sometimes secured in a doorway. You strap your child into the hoop and it lets the child amuse themselves and experiment by jumping on the floor. Jumpers are for older babies who’ve learned to somewhat balance themselves and put a little weight on their legs. You can start some babies around 5 months and they’ll use it until they are walking well.
#4 Baby Exersaucers & Activity Stations
This is a newer category of baby gear and it is like a hybrid of the other options. These products almost always feature some sort of tray design with a large number of toys and things your baby can reach for and play with. Many exersaucers are quite versatile, and can expand to a play station when your baby gets older and doesn’t need to be strapped in.
The Benefits of Baby Swings
Baby swings are marvelous little contraptions, and their benefits are numerous. Of course, a swing won’t ever substitute for loving human contact. Baby swings are the most beneficial during the baby’s first six months or so. Some of the more sturdy baby swings have weight limits of 24 to 30 pounds, however. Bigger babies that are pretty active could precariously rock the swing or even upend it in some cases.
Perhaps the best benefit is the hands-free time you’ll get in utilizing a baby swing. If your baby responds well to the baby swing, it can provide a much needed relief during the exhausting newborn phase. It is widely accepted that babies need stimulation to develop and learn. These types of activity baby gear helps provide your baby with new experiences. Also, swings with toys will stimulate a baby as they learn to reach and play with toys.
Safety Precautions when Using a Baby Swing
While experts don’t recommend much more than 60 minutes of swing time a day, it is okay to leave your baby in the swing if they fall asleep as long as they are strapped securely in. Whenever your baby is using the swing, you’ll want to visually monitor them just to be safe. We have a couple recommendations to consider before making a final purchase as well. The first is a five point safety harness which will make the swing extra secure for your baby. This is because it includes two shoulder straps in addition to the standard waist strap. Another thing to look for is a seal of approval from Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association or JPMA. You can read about this product safety organization at their website.
- Make sure the baby swing is assembled correctly.
- Verify that all the toys and other separate parts are locked in place, anything loose could make its way to your baby’s mouth and cause choking.
- Always supervise baby when he or she is using the baby swing.
What to Look for when Buying a Baby Swing
Here are the top things to keep an eye on when shopping for the best baby swing for your bundle of joy.
- Cord or Battery Operated? Probably one of the most important features is whether or not you’ll need access to a nearby outlet. The downside of cordless, battery operated swings is that you’ll be going through battery packs faster than diaper packs (okay maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture). Check the humming noise that each specific model emits. Sometimes certain humming noises will startle some babies and soothe others. Probably the safest route is to get a very minimal sound swing.
- Easy to Clean? Babies are simply messy little creatures, expending plenty of fluids such as snot, drool, and diaper overflows. You definitely want to find a baby swing that at the very least has a removable seat cover. The best is when it is machine washable as well, making clean up a breeze.
- Safety Harness Type? Most swings will come with a “three-point” harness. Full-size baby swings are required by law to have this type of harness. This will prevent your baby from slipping out of the swing seat. Even so, we recommend finding a baby swing with a five-point harness. Five point means it includes over the shoulder straps. This makes it even more secure than a three point harness.
- Speed and Motion Design? Some baby swings will offer a side to side motion instead of back and forth. Another thing, the more spendy baby swings will give you nearly 10 speeds to choose from. The best thing to do in this situation is to start at the lowest speed and see how your baby responds. Then, experiment with the other settings.
- Frame Design? You want something that is very stable. The stability factor starts with the base of the baby swing. If it has a wide, durable frame that is low to the ground, the swing is much less like to tip when your baby gets extra excited or just likes to lean heavily to one side.
- Theme? If you have a baby girl you are probably not going to choose a dark blue baby swing with little trucks on it. By the same token, a princess themed girl baby swing may not make the best swing for a boy.
- Extra Features? Some of the fanciest and best baby swings come with all the bells and whistles. These include features such as toy bars, trays, music, light displays, and other hand operated mobiles to keep your baby busy. One thing to look for is that if a swing comes with a larger tray, make sure it is easily removable to make it easy to take your baby out of the seat when swing time is over.
- Certifications? We recommend finding a baby swing that has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association stamp of approval. This will be located either on the swing itself or the packaging (or both).
Best Baby Swings of 2016
In this section, we provide our readers with baby swing reviews.
My Little Lamb Cradle ‘n Swing
Fisher-Price is the manufacturer of the My Little Lamb Baby Swing. This is one of the best full sized baby swings for the price. For all the included features, it is fairly priced at about $100. Battery powered operation is optional (4 D type batteries). It has an AC adapter so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries frequently. This baby swing has it all. The My Little Lamb baby swing features a 5 point safety harness, swinging motions, 6 swing speeds, removable tray with toys, volume control, 3 seat positions, 3 nature sounds, 10 tunes, and a number of little hanging toys (clouds and lambs) for baby to play with. The weight limit of this baby swing is 25 pounds and is recommended for your baby to use until the child becomes active and has the ability to climb out of the seat. The fabric is high quality and generously plush, perfect to cocoon your baby in the cozy seat. This baby swing weighs about 20 pounds and is foldable making it easy to store.
Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing
If you’re looking for something more portable, the Cozy Kingdom swing by Comfort & Harmony is an excellent option. It is a compact, affordable baby swing. The item weights only 7 pounds as compared to the typical 20 pounds of many baby swings. The seat features removable seat pad and head support covers, which are thankfully machine washable for easy cleanup. The Cozy Kingdom has 6 speed settings and 6 songs to keep baby busy. The foam toybar across the top has 2 cute animal hanging toys that your baby can play with.
The Rockaroo Swing by 4moms features a modern white and grey design. This stylish invention placed the pivot point on this swing closer to the baby’s head. It has a very small footprint, being about 1/3 the size of full baby swings. This swing is a front to back motion only baby swing. The Rockaroo has a special rocking motion that is much smoother than traditional baby swings which helps put cranky babies to sleep. It has 5 speed settings that are easily selected by the dial in the front. An MP3 plug in and the lip in the front provides a spot to place a smartphone so your baby can listen to tunes while they swing away. The cover is removable, however you’ll have to upgrade to get the machine-washable fabric.
DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker
The Graco DuetSoothe is priced pretty high, but it has an advantage over other swings. You can remove the seat part of the swing and you have a little rocker with a carry-handle that’s easy to carry around. Hurray for multi-tasking baby products! Like the Fisher-Price model, you have the choice of using batteries or plugging it in. This baby swing features a vibration settings and two speed settings. The frame is durable, high quality metal, with a wide base that prevents tipping. You can swing baby from side to side or front to back with the DuetSoothe. The only downside is that there is no tray with toys, the only things for baby to play with are the three hanging bears underneath the swinging motor.