Baby swings vary greatly in cost, size, motion, materials and more, so it’s important to understand all the available features and options to make the best purchasing decision. With so many baby swing reviews do you know what to look for? Use our quick reference buying guide to be confident you’re choosing the right swing for you and your baby.
Type and Size: Baby swings come in different shapes and sizes and different types of swinging motion. If you are dealing with a smaller space, a portable swing may work best in your home. If you are looking for a swing with loads of options and different swinging motions, then be prepared to spend more money and make more space for it.
Cost: Costs for a powered baby swing run anywhere from $50 for a portable swing to well over $200. The sweet spot for full size swings seems to be around $100-150 to get a good mix of quality materials, features, soothing ability and price.
Power Options: Battery powered swings can come in handy due to the fact that they can go pretty much anywhere. An AC powered swing is limited to being near an outlet, however it will not require the extra cost of batteries. Depending on how long and often the swing is used, the battery costs can add up.
Safety Harness: Three-point harnesses are required as a minimum in swings due to the risk of slipping out. If an infant swing is used when a baby is older (and therefore more mobile), it is recommended to invest in a model with a five-point harness. Thankfully many swings feature 5 point harnesses by default these days. Although it is never recommended to leave your baby alone in a swing, this will reduce the risk of injury.
Motion: There are 4 types of motion to be aware of:
- Traditional front to back swing
- Side to side swing
- Front to back glide
- Programmed motions
Most feature the traditional back and forth swing and some swings can also swing side to side. Babies may have a specific preference and therefore having a swing with both options can come in handy during those especially fussy times. Gliders (such as the Graco Glider LX) are the 3rd type of motion which move back and forth like a nursery glider chair, and the 4th are swings such as those from 4Moms which are mechanically driven with programmed motions. Most babies seem to prefer the natural swinging or gliding motions over the mechanical movements, but all babies are different!
Speed: Swings generally have an array of speeds to cater for the different size & weight of the child, and also for their preference for a gentle movement or fast swing. As the child gets older & heavier the swing may not move as fast as when the child was younger. For this reason Fisher Price released their Smart Swing technology (as used in their Snugapuppy swing) to take the child’s weight into account.
Ease of Use and Sturdiness: Having a swing that can easily fold or come apart for storage while also being safe and sturdy is of utmost importance. Also familiarize yourself with the construction and controls by referring to the product manual. Each of the swings featured in our reviews below have links to the product manual in the specification table.
Safety Standards: Parents are all concerned about the safety of their little ones. The seal of approval from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) will let you know that the swing has been tested and proven safe.
Easy to Clean: Diaper blow-outs, spit up, and drool are unfortunately all so common with babies especially in the early months. Having baby gear that is easy to clean up is a welcome relief. Removable and washable covers make it simple to recover from a catastrophe.
Entertainment: Baby swings with entertainment options, such as a mirror, music, nature sounds, white noice, or mobile, are great for helping to soothe a fussy baby with little to no assistance from a parent.
Comfort: Reclining cradle-style swings are perfect for newborns and important up to around 4 months when they have good head control. Thick padding and quality materials will increase the comfort level, but even the more basic swings can do a great job of soothing your child.
Cautions for Frequent and Extended Use of a Baby Swing
It can be very tempting to leave your infant in a swing for extended periods. After all, a baby swing can soothe and keep your little one at rest and also give you a rest. For parents, this is a dream come true (sometimes literally), as it may allow for a bit of extra sleep for both baby and parent(s). However, extended use of a baby swing is by no means recommended, and can be dangerous without supervision.
SIDS is a concern for babies who are kept in an infant swing on a regular basis. There are many other issues that may arise from using an infant swing too much or without supervision. In order to ensure the safety of your baby, make sure to limit the amount of time in the swing and by no means allow it to become a night time sleep aid beyond initially settling your child.
Infants who spend too much time on their backs (whether that is in bed, in an infant swing or car seat) can develop cranial deformities. More often the over-use of these products occurs when the baby has medical complications such as reflux, congestion, or colic where the swing can help to soother your unsettled child.
There are also concerns that the extended use of an infant swing can hinder a child’s ability to become mobile by limiting tummy time. It is important to make this time a priority for their development, even if they do not enjoy it.