An activity center, a jumper or a baby walker for your child?
Many parents ask this question once their baby is able to sit or stand with a little support, and it’s a good question. Baby walkers, jumpers and activity centers (or exersaucers) are similar in many ways and it can get confusing to know which one to get for your child.
A jumper is a seat attached to elastic straps that let your baby jump and bounce around in it. This seat is usually in the center of a circular table that is fitted stimulating toys to keep your child entertained!
A baby walker is a device with wheels that can be used by babies who cannot walk on their own move from one place to another on their two feet. However, there have been studies that discourage the use of walkers deeming them dangerous. Baby walkers can potentially put babies in situations where there is an injury risk; they might be able to grab sharp objects and hot liquids and move to dangerous areas like near the stairs or swimming pools.
In fact, walkers are banned in Canada! Parents buy walkers with good intentions – thinking that it will help their babies learn to walk faster. However, it does the opposite and delay independent walking. Because of all this, walkers should not be considered at all.
So why choose an activity center? Here are the main reasons.
1. Jumpers are not recommended by paediatricians
They put a lot of pressure on a child’s developing legs. They typically make the child stand on tiptoe to be able to propel the legs while jumping. This negatively affects posture and the development of leg muscles.
In comparison, an activity center is kinder on the legs since your baby can’t jump in it, but movement is still possible in the seat that rotates 360 degrees. It helps in developing muscles and encourages good posture by standing straight. However, it is important to know that an activity center should not be used for more than 20 minutes a day.
2. Higher chances of injury
While both a jumper and activity center are safe, the chances of injury are higher in a jumper because of the aggressive movements. It is therefore recommended that a child should not be left unattended in one. So, with an activity center, you can relax knowing your child is playing happily and safely while you take a breather and have a little ‘me’ time!
3. Activity centers grow with your little one
Activity centers are better for more long-term use as they grow with your child. Some of them can be converted into an activity table like our PortaPlay range, as your child grows from baby to toddler, and is able to stand without support and play. A jumper is more restrictive in how long you can use it.
4. Activity centers are more portable and easier to store
Activity centers also tend to be more portable and easier to store, as you don’t need to detach the elastics and other parts since you will not be using all of them at the same time. When your child reaches the activity table stage, the legs can still be folded and the table stowed away easily.
As for activity centers itself, they can do more than just keep your baby entertained. Our latest PortaPlay, the PortaPlay Stage-Based Activity Center - Monsterland Adventures is designed for holistic baby development. Did you know? In the first year, your baby’s brain DOUBLES in size! That’s why our activity center is designed to grow with your child with stage-based toys for healthy baby development.
In the first stage, early development toys that focus on vision, exploration, reaching out, grasping and bouncing are introduced. In the next stage, toys help brain development, build focus, self-awareness, thinking and more! After they’re 1 and running around, convert it into an activity for them to use for years to come!
Themed to keep your baby entertained!
While creating our PortaPlay activity centers, we kept all of this in mind, and added fun themes! From the curious world of Alice in Wonderland, to the cute, lovable monsters of Monsterland, and finally, to a friendly bunch of Forest friends. The toys delight your child and helps them develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and mental stimulation.
In conclusion, activity centers are much safer and better for your baby's overall health and development. Not to mention, they can create a safe space to keep your little one engaged as you sneak in some me-time!