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Baby bouncersPrint

A healthy back from birth with the right baby bouncer

If you know a little about the structure of your back, you may well know that an adult spine forms a double S shape. This is an ingenious move by nature, as it enables the spine to absorb shocks and vibrations. Babies, however, don’t start out with this shape; this only develops once the child starts learning to walk and even then there is some way to go. From birth until the child takes their first steps, the function and shape of the spine, pelvis and legs are specially geared towards being carried.

New parents love nothing more than having their offspring in their arms. But that, of course, isn’t possible 24 hours a day. Parents need to eat and shower, for example. And that’s why baby bouncers have become a staple piece of baby kit. It’s important to look out for specific features in a baby bouncer to make sure that your new arrival really feels comfortable and safe in their swing, rocker or bouncer seat.

All natural

Ergonomics play a key role in this respect. It takes approximately a year for a baby’s spine to develop into a double S-shape. This is a development that is firmly anchored in our genes and always unfolds in the same way, from babies lying on their tummies and supporting themselves with both elbows, to standing and then walking. It therefore makes sense that this progressive posture process should be supported at all times, including when using a baby bouncer, in a way that is appropriate to the child’s age and stage of development. The main consideration here is that because of its slight spinal curvature, a newborn baby’s back is not made for lying on a flat surface. For this reason, ergonomic baby bouncers support a natural posture: the iliac crests straighten up, the tailbone comes forward and excessive curvature of the lumbar and cervical spine subsides – the thoracic spine is no longer overly rounded. When it comes to the position of the legs, experts speak of something called the spread-squat position, which is a combination of flexion (bending), abduction (spreading) and external rotation (knees pointing outwards).

Special attention needs to be paid to the baby’s head position. During the first three months, babies can only turn their head to the side up to an angle of 45 degrees. This is down to the atlanto-axial joint, which is the joint between the first (atlas) and second (axis) cervical vertebrae. The disadvantage of many baby bouncers is that they don’t provide enough space for the protruding back of the head. As a result, the little ones press their chin to their chest, which also leads to a tilted position of the head and makes turning impossible. In the worst case scenario, this can restrict breathing. Good baby bouncers focus on this area in particular and allow the head enough room to turn.

Strength lies in tranquillity

A baby bouncer should also be designed to allow the child to self-regulate. Why is this important? Infants need the help of their parents to learn how to self-regulate and calm themselves, especially in their first year. Too much external stimuli can quickly lead to overwhelm and have exactly the opposite effect. In such cases, an ever stronger stimulus is then needed to help the baby calm down again. This is why electric rockers are not advisable. It is better to allow the child to rock the baby bouncer by moving their own arms and legs, so that they can control the external stimulus themselves.

Back-friendly - for parents too

And of course, safety and ergonomics for parents should also be factored in for a product that is used daily; the baby bouncer should be easy and reliable to use. Simple and quick to use buckles ensure that your baby is well secured and that you can swiftly pick them up again at any time. A wide and easily accessible foot control allows for quick and easy adjustment of the seat inclination and protects your back at the same time. Also make sure that the baby bouncer is easy and safe to set up, freely accessible from all sides and that it cannot collapse unexpectedly. Ideally, this is prevented by a double safety mechanism. Another piece of advice is that you should always have your baby in sight and be able to respond to their needs.

Variety is the key

Generally speaking, constant sitting and lying down, even in perfect baby bouncers, can counteract the child’s development. Therefore, it is always advisable to have a diverse mix of different options to optimally support your baby’s development. Carrying, with or without a sling, lying (on their backs) in bed to sleep, breastfeeding and feeding in your arms, playing on the floor (in tummy position and daily if possible) and time spent on the changing table are all important and do a lot of good. Just let your child and your instincts decide what is right for them.

Checklist

Ergonomic comfort and developmental support for your child through…

  • ...easy positioning of the child in the baby bouncer, which can be adjusted to the size of the child. A newborn insert, or another constructive option for positioning is needed for full-term newborns, weighing approx. 2.5 kg or more, up to the age of 4 to 6 months (head support must be provided)...
  • ... a spread-squat position for the legs This is important for the healthy development of the hip joints (M-position of the legs) and the spine of the child.
  • ... ergonomic spinal support, such as an ergonomic newborn insert in the first months or an ergonomic design of the baby bouncer that provides enough space for the small body to develop while at the same time providing lateral support.
  • ... developmentally appropriate support for the head. The head must have enough space when stretched backwards (reclining) and also when turning. This ensures that the baby’s chin isn’t pressed against their chest. It also makes sure that the child can breathe without restriction.
  • ... a comfortable sitting and lying position in line with the child’s age and developmental stage. This is achieved, for example, by using different developmentally appropriate positions, ranging from a lying position for newborns to a sitting position for older babies and toddlers.
  • ... avoidance of over-stimulation and fostering of self-regulation. Too much stimulation can quickly lead to overwhelm, and the more external stimulation the baby is exposed to, the more is needed to calm them down. Sometimes less is more.
  • ... a natural rocking motion. Whereby the child’s head must always be in the most elevated position. This prevents or minimises reflux or vomiting.
  • ... an optimal temperature inside the baby bouncer (e.g. through breathability of material).

The baby bouncer must...

  • ...be ergonomic, simple, quick, safe and easy to use. This is achieved, for example, through clear control elements and a reclining surface that is accessible from all sides.
  • ... be light weight and compact to ensure easy and practical carrying.
  • ... allow a clear view of the baby at all times.

Handling, care, safety and free of harmful substances

  • Make sure that the cover can be easily changed, i.e. removed, and is washable.
  • Similarly, make sure that the baby bouncer is easy to look after and therefore easy to clean. This creates the right conditions for good hygiene.
  • Unintentional collapse of the baby bouncer must not be possible. Look for appropriate safety mechanisms that prevent this from happening but that still allow easy use.
  • Pay attention to good stability; the baby bouncer shouldn’t slip, even on smooth surfaces, and needs to be sturdy, i.e. it shouldn’t wobble.

 

Minimum requirements

  • Simple, quick, safe and back-friendly use
  • Easy to carry
  • Covers that are easy to change and wash
  • Easy to clean
  • Clear and safe control elements
  • Good and secure stability
  • Unrestricted view of the baby
  • Optimal and safe positioning of the baby in the bouncer
  • Legs in spread-squat position
  • Ergonomic and developmentally appropriate support of the spine
  • No overstretching of the torso
  • Support of the pelvis
  • Ergonomic position of the head & free head movement
  • No constant heel support
  • Unrestricted breathing
  • Comfortable and developmentally appropriate sitting and lying positions
  • Avoidance of over-stimulation and fostering of self-regulation
  • Natural bouncing movement controlled by the baby (head at highest point)
  • Optimal temperature in the baby bouncere

Also appropriate

  • Accessories/toys that promote development.
  • The baby bouncer should be multifunctional, e.g. be convertible so that it can be used for a significant period of time from birth onwards.
  • The baby bouncer should be able to be assembled, set up and collapsed without the use of tools.
  • The newborn insert should have a snug fit and be easy to attach and secure to the baby bouncer..

Products in this sector with the AGR seal of approval

Manufacturer

Ergobaby Europe GmbH
Mönckebergstr. 11
20095 Hamburg
GERMANY
Phone +49 40/42 10 650
Fax +49 40/42 10 65 199
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.ergobaby.eu

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