The people behind items for babies have stumbled on a minefield. They have got a market that is so hot that they never have to worry about going under. There are eager parents out there who are just dying to get their hands on the hottest items for babies and toddlers. They spend hundreds of dollars on these products and they believe them to be great.
The truth is, they are great, but they are not all created equal. Items that are made for babies are wonderful and they are safe, but there is a fine print that not a lot of parents know about. The fine print usually states that a baby should only use them for a limited amount of time. We are all guilty of not always reading the instructions that come with items because who has the time? Well, these instructions are where the guidelines are and it is an important guideline. There are many reasons why a baby should not be in a particular item for longer than 15-minutes and a lot of them are due to development.
So, what are these items? We have 20 items that a baby should not use for longer than 15-minutes a day. Some are more serious than others, but they are all important.
20 Jolly Jumpers
For some reason, jolly jumpers end up on safety lists all of the time, and for good reason. Jolly jumpers are great, and babies love them. Parents love to watch their little one jump around because it is absolutely adorable. However, parents are missing one big warning in the instructions.
The instructions state that a baby should not be in this item for longer than 15-20 minutes a day. When our babies are having fun, it can be tempting to let them stay in there so that they can continue having fun. However, jolly jumpers can hinder motor development because they are mimicking motor development. They are doing the support for the baby, so the baby doesn’t have to work as hard.
19 Baby Bath
Any type of bath seat can be detrimental for a number of reasons. They tend to give parents a false sense of security which can lead a mom to not be as attentive as she needs to be. Accidents have happened in the bath while a baby was using a bath seat. However, the reason a baby should not use these for very long has very little to do with safety.
Babies don’t tend to get dirty that much. Unless they have a hard day with blowouts and spit-ups, there really isn’t a whole lot to clean up at the end of the day. Babies also have very new and sensitive skin and staying in a bath too long can lead their skin to dry out which can be very uncomfortable. Keep baths short and simple.
If a home has a baby in it, chances are it has an exersaucer. Babies love exersaucers and they are great at entertaining a little one. They have a bunch of interactive toys on the top and they have all kinds of bells and whistles that are meant to grab a baby’s attention. Some of them are also forms of jumpers as well as the baby can bounce around in them.
The time in this item should be limited, as well. There are some that say that society tends to underestimate a baby’s ability to entertain themselves. That we don’t give them a chance to amuse themselves when we place them in these items for too long.
17 Car Seat (When Not In The Car)
You are going to notice that some of the items on this list may seem a bit weird. I will admit, it seems ridiculous to expect any parent to only have their child in a car seat for 15-minutes at a time.
However, there is a reason this is on the list. Of course, most car drives are longer than 15-minutes and the baby needs to stay in the car seat for the full amount of time driving. However, that is the only time a baby should be hanging out in their car seat.
A baby often falls asleep in their car seat and it can be tempting to bring them in the house and let them sleep, but this is never a good idea. As soon as the baby is not in the car, they should be taken out of their car seat.
16 A Pool
Many parents like to introduce water and pools to their babies as soon as possible. It really helps to get them used to the water and it may be a great survival skill they may need one day. Babies (in some areas) can start swimming lessons as early as 4-months old and this is great. However, their time in the pool should really be kept short.
This is due to chemicals that are added to pools. Chlorine is important to keep water clean when there are a lot of people using it every day. However, it can be really hard on an infant’s skin, so the exposure should be limited. It is also important that the baby has a bath after swimming to wash it all off.
15 Bumbo Seats
Bumbo seats are very popular, but there have been a lot of people out there who are hoping these items get banned.
They see them as a safety risk, as babies have fallen out of them especially when they are placed up high. If mom wants to use a bumbo seat, then it should only be for a short amount of time and the baby should be able to hold their head up on their own.
This follows the popular parenting theory that if a baby can not do something on their own yet, we should not be making them do it with a device. It is better to not interfere with a baby’s natural development and manipulating it in this way could lead to delays.
Walkers are banned in Canada. It is illegal to buy, sell or have one of these in your home. The punishment is a hefty fine and possible time behind bars. This came about due to multiple injuries that were being reported while a baby was using these. The most common injury was caused by a baby in a walker taking a topple down the stairs.
However, even in places where these are not illegal, the time in them should be limited. Much like the jolly jumper, this is another device that mimics a motor development that has not happened naturally. It does the job for the baby. A better alternative is a push walker that simply aids at helping the baby balance while learning to walk.
13 Strollers (Gasp)
Here is where everyone gasps because they can not believe that strollers are on this list. Yes, strollers are great, and they are a necessity. We are in no way implying that a baby can not be in a stroller but try and keep it short or give them breaks out of it every now and then.
That is because a stroller is confining, and babies are not meant to be confined to one space. Keeping a baby confined for too long can hinder development as they are not free to explore their body and the world around them in the way they want too. So, take that baby for a walk in the stroller, but maybe if you pass a park give them a break and let them explore in the grass.
12 Certain Sling Carriers
Sling carriers, or any type of infant carrier, are very popular. Babywearing is a hit trend and we see the appeal. It lets mom get things down when she is dealing with a baby who does not want to be put down. Mom can comfort her baby while having both of her arms free.
However, not all baby carriers are created equal and it is important to make sure you are using the right one. A carrier needs to have hip support for a baby. Their hips and legs should not hang down straight, there needs to be nice support holding them up. This is crucial when it comes to their hip development and it could be bad news if a baby is worn incorrectly for too long.
11 Bulky Shoes
Not a lot of babies wear shoes, as moms just don’t see the point of shoes until they are walking. However, when they start learning to walk it is crucial to pay attention to what is on their feet.
Mom is going to want them in light shoes that have great ankle support. Mom needs to beware of heavy and bulky shoes which could impair the child’s ability to walk.
The best way to help a child learn to walk is to do it barefoot where they can get the full feel of it. If the baby has to wear shoes of any kind, try and limit the walking done in them. This should be done at least in the very beginning to give the little one a chance to learn how to walk in them.
10 Tummy Time Mats
Tummy time is so important, so it is a bit disappointing to see it on this list.
Tummy time should begin as soon as that little baby comes home from the hospital. It is best done on mom or dads’ chest in the beginning, but once the umbilical cord stump falls off the baby can graduate to a cute tummy time mat.
While tummy time is great, it should be limited. The main reason is that a lot of babies don’t tend to like tummy time, so it can be quite stressful on them. It is much better to give them short periods throughout the day than to try and force one long session.
Swings are an invention that all mothers are grateful for. They are excellent at calming a fussy baby and getting them to get a nap in. They work so well because they mimic the rocking movements of mom’s hips that the baby would have felt while they were inside.
While swings may be great, time in them should be limited.
The support for their little backs is not that great and it could impair development. You also don’t want a baby to get too used to being in the swing or you are going to have a hard time getting them to sleep anywhere else after that.
8 Rock N Play
Rock N Play’s are great, and they are a newer product. They are a baby seat that allows the baby to feel almost cocooned in them. It keeps them at an upright angle which has been known to help alleviate some of the symptoms of colic. Parents have been letting their babies sleep in these items because they do tend to sleep a lot better.
However, these are not appropriate ‘safe’ places for a baby to sleep and their time in them should be limited. Rock N Plays have been known to cause Plagiocephaly in infants due to their inability to move their head. Plagiocephaly is a condition that causes a flat spot on the back of the baby’s head. This condition is very common, but usually needs medical devices (like a cranial band) to correct.
Now, it is easy to say that we would never allow a baby to have any screen time. However, parents get desperate and there may be times when a baby is so fussy, and a glowing screen may be able to calm them down for just a little bit.
Baby Einstein is a common program that parents will put on for their little infants to watch. It is full of bright colours and classical music and babies love it.
If mom and dad use screen time, then it is something that absolutely should be limited to very short amounts of time. Babies don’t have the ability to differentiate what they see on a screen versus real life. That means that they assume what they are seeing on the screen is real.
6 Play Mats
It really cannot be stated enough that there are tons of products out there that are aimed to help parents and entertain babies. Play mats are another item that every parent has, and they are excellent. They are a comfortable mat for the baby to lay on and they have a wide array of dangling toys hanging down for them to grab at.
Time on a play mat should also be limited and this is again due to plagiocephaly. The only way to really avoid your baby getting a flat spot on their head is to avoid laying them on their back too much. They need to lay on their back to sleep but they should be upright whenever possible throughout the day.
5 Neck Floats
We have all seen the adds on social media of these cute little babies floating around in the bath with a little inflatable ring around their neck. They look adorable and they look like they are having a great time.
However, while these things may be completely safe, babies should not spend a lot of time in one of these devices.
It can be tempting to keep a little one in these because they are having so much fun, but water is going to dry out their skin. They should not be in any form of water for longer than their skin will handle. As soon as they get out, it is time to cover them in a good moisturizer.
4 Baby Nests
Bedsharing is another controversial parenting topic. There are those who do it every night and with every baby and claim it is the only way they can get sleep. Then there are those that say parents who do this are reckless.
Bedsharing is completely fine when it is done safely, and a lot of parents turn to products aimed at making it safer. Baby nests are one of these items. They are little cots that can go right in mom and dad’s bed and the baby has their own little sleeping space with raised sides.
These are not ideal for sleeping because a baby can get their face pushed up against the side. They certainly should not be using it when it comes to sleeping.
3 Any Type Of Play Seat
Play seats are a newer thing, or at least I never noticed them when I had my daughter three years ago, and parents love them. They are neat little seats that mom can put her baby in and they can have a little play with all of the toys that are on the tray. It is almost like an alternative to an exersaucer, except they are sitting and not standing.
For many of the reasons we have already talked about, the time should be limited in these as well. It is another means of ‘forcing’ a baby to do something that they are not developmentally ready to do. If a baby can not sit up on their own yet, they should not be propped up into that position.
Adults think a lot about their posture throughout the day, we pay attention to the way we sit and stand. If we don’t, then we are probably going to be met with some back pain and body aches. Babies are no different. While their bodies are new and young, it is still important to watch the posture their bodies are in.
A bouncer is something that is so convenient. It is small and can easily be carried from room to room which makes them very appealing to a lot of parents. However, when the baby is in this their body is in a slouched, or folded, position. This is not great posture and there is not a lot of support for their fragile little backs and bodies.
1 High Chairs?
High chairs are essential to life with a baby, especially when they are starting solid foods.
It is a little odd that this item is on this list and that is because it has not been clearly stated that babies need to limit their time in these. High chairs are actually very beneficial when it comes to a baby eating solid food, as it keeps them in an upright position.
However, are they ready to be in that position? Many people start their babies on solid foods at 4-months old, which is not recommended by a lot of experts. If a baby is too young to be eating solid foods, then they are probably too young to spend a lot of time in a high chair.
References: smartparents.sg, earthbasedmom.com