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Expectant Mom's Resource Center Manufacturers' Websites SHOPPING MALL Product Features

Product Features

Infant Activity Seat

Bouncer seats, rockers, and infant activity seats all perform essentially the same function and are invaluable for busy parents. Most new parents truly appreciate the hands-free convenience of this category of product because it allows them to keep their child nearby while they shower, cook or perform any one of dozens of daily tasks. Most, but not all, infant seats are bouncers. Others feature a rocking motion in place of the bouncing action. For that reason, I prefer to think of these seats as "infant activity seats" rather than bouncers. These must-have products are available from a number of manufacturers with a typical retail range from $20-$60 depending on the features. These seats are designed for newborns and babies up to six to nine months depending upon the manufacturer and the design. A few of these seats are convertible for toddler use as well.

Safety and stability are two of the most important components in a good infant seat: the seat should feature a wide stable base and should feel secure. Also, it is very important that the design of any seat include an adjustable waist and crotch (3-point) restraint system to keep baby securely inside the seat. The fabric seat should be removable for cleaning or should feature a surface that allows for easy spot cleaning.

The breadth of offerings available in the bouncer and infant activity seat category has changed significantly over the past few years. Initially, most bouncers were manufactured of heavy steel wire, which permitted the frame some flexibility — hence the bouncing action. A few of the more expensive bouncers or rocker bouncers of the time were manufactured of steel tubing.

Nearly all of the infant seats today feature sunshade canopies. Most also offer a removable toy bar of some fashion. Some bouncers also act as rockers and feature built-in stops to hold the seat in a stationary position. Many parents favor these seats because they double as a feeding seats or portable high chairs. One of the most popular features available on infant seats today is the addition of an integrated motion or vibration device, which gently soothes baby to sleep.

When selecting an infant activity seat or bouncer the buyer should carefully check to be certain that there are not sharp edges on the seat or on any of the plastic parts. Also be sure that there are no small parts that a baby might put into his mouth. There should also be no cords, strings, or ribbons that are longer than seven (7) inches in length as those items pose a strangulation hazard.

Parents have responsibilities about the safe use of baby products, too. Most importantly baby should NEVER be left unattended while in an infant seat, and the seat should never be set on a high or unstable surface. In addition, common sense dictates that the seat should never be placed near a fireplace, stove, or in the path of a hinged door. It may seem like it goes without saying, but in this world of convertible products, many consumers are confused. Remind parents who purchase infant activity seats or bouncers that the seat should NEVER, EVER be used as a substitute for a car seat.

Many of the easy-to-assemble wire frame seats also disassemble very easily for storage. For that reason, they also can come apart if the seat is picked up or moved while baby is inside. A parent should NEVER move a baby-occupied infant seat (especially a wire frame bouncer seat) while the child is inside unless the directions for that product specifically describe that the product is safely designed to accommodate that action.

Some companies offer bouncer seats that double as travel bassinets. Others manufacture rockers designed to convert and grow along with the child so that the rocker seat can be used initially as an infant seat and then altered for use as a toddler seat.

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