How to buy the best baby bouncer
By Anna Studman
Baby bouncers can soothe, entertain or keep your baby out of harms way if you can't hold them. Find out how to choose the best.
Which is the best fit for your baby – a rocker chair or a door bouncer? What sort of baby bouncer features can you expect on your budget?
Whether you're a new parent buying your first baby bouncer or you're looking for a larger chair fit for a toddler, we can help you spend your money wisely.
We run through the different types of baby bouncer, and reveal the key features to look out for when you're shopping for a new chair, plus important safety advice.
Want to know which baby bouncer brands are the best, as voted for by parents? Take a look at our baby bouncer brands guide.
Baby bouncer chairs or rocker chairs
These can be simple, with just a few toys attached, or they can be more elaborate – some have a built-in rocking motion or vibration, or even music, to help soothe your baby to sleep. Just remember that if you go for a baby bouncer like this, you'll need to use batteries, or get one that plugs in.
Some models have a number of different recline positions, which means they'll work as a toddler seat when your child is older.
Bouncer chairs are for young babies – many are suitable from birth
Bouncer chairs are for young babies – many are suitable from birth – enabling your little one to lightly bounce while they kick and move around.
You can use a rocker chair only until your baby is around six-months old, can sit up independently or weighs about 25lb, but always check the instructions that come with your chair.
With a door bouncer, your baby sits in a special seat that's attached to a long elasticated strip, the top of which is clamped to the door frame. The baby pushes against the floor with his or her feet, and bounces up and down.
You can get fabric or plastic door bouncers, costing between £15 and £70, and some have a small shelf with toys attached.
The bouncing sensation can delight babies – and be hilarious to watch. This will probably be the first time your baby has felt the thrill of being able to move fast using his or her own leg muscles.
Door bouncers can be used from about five to six months of age
However, even babies who love bouncers may tire of them after 10 minutes or so, and you should keep sessions fairly brie f – 15 minutes is fine, 30 minutes the absolute limit.
When it comes to using a door bouncer, make sure your door frames and doorways are suitable for it. Narrow doorways aren't particularly suitable because your baby will bounce sideways as well as up and down, so he or she could knock against the frame. Ensure the bouncer doesn't slide sideways as the baby is using it.
Door bouncers can be used from about five to six-months of age – as soon as your baby can support his or her head.
The majority of baby bouncers you'll find in-store and online are available for under £100. At this price point, you'll get basic features such as bars with hanging plush toys and cushioned foot rests and side supports.
Spend a little more, though, and you'll be looking at baby bouncers that have several different vibrating modes and movement speeds. Prices can rise beyond £200 for chairs that provide adjustable seat recline and built-in musical soundtracks to soothe your baby.
We asked 3,286 parents with children 12 years or under about their experiences using a baby bouncer. Using the feedback we received, we can help you spend your money wisely on the very best baby bouncer brands.
In our latest survey (conducted February-March 2019), we ranked the following baby bouncer brands by customer score:
- Bright Starts
- Chad Valley
Visit our guide to the best and worst baby bouncer brands to see which brand is worth spending your money on.
Whichever type of baby bouncer you choose, make sure that the frame is sturdy and solid, as it will need to take the weight of your baby. You should also check the minimum and maximum weights on the bouncer.
Clear a space
Make sure there is plenty of room for your baby to bounce; for example, if it's a door bouncer, check that the cord isn't too long to avoid your baby hitting the floor.
Check the straps
The bouncer must have at least a three-point harness – preferably a five-point one - to stop your baby from falling out.
Look for a safety mark
Your baby bouncer should have the BS EN 14036:2003 safety mark. This indicates that the product complies with the appropriate safety standards.
Keep an eye on your little one, and make sure the bouncer is well away from hazards, such as heaters or wires.
Use a flat surface
Never place a rocker chair on a raised or soft surface, such as your bed, in case your baby makes it move enough for it to drop off the edge, or tip over. Never place a rocker chair on a raised or soft surface, such as your bed, in case your baby makes it move enough for it to drop off the edge, or tip over.