Exersaucers can be a real lifesaver for parents who need to put baby down somewhere safe while they get a shower, eat a quick meal, or even collapse into an exhausted heap onto the sofa. Whatever the reason, exersaucers are a great resource, and they are loaded with all kinds of sensory activities to keep baby happy and busy while mom and dad take a breather. As wonderful as these toys are, there are two questions every parent asks about exersaucers:
Question 1: How long should you leave baby in the exersaucer?
Experts recommend playtime in the exersaucer be no more than 15 minutes per day total, so you may want a timer to make sure you don’t lose track of time when you are on a break and baby is busy in their exersaucer.
Question 2: When should baby stop playing in the exersaucer altogether?
Baby should be done with exersaucer play by the time they are about 10 months old. A good way to tell if they are ready to move on from the exersaucer is watching for when he/she starts pulling themselves up to stand independently. That’s the best way to know when to find another solution for short breaks.
Tips and Answers
Like all baby toys and accessories, the exersaucer has both pros and cons. The answers for our key questions are largely summarized by the pros and cons of exersaucer toys.
- Fast easy break for parents
- Baby is occupied, stimulated and happy
- Baby stays in one place
- Some babies develop poor standing position from too much time in the exersaucer when their feet cannot touch the ground
- Can impede the development of good balance skills
- Discourages exploration and interaction with people and their environment
So, what should conscientious responsible parents do? Here’s some tips
- Don’t start baby in the exersaucer until they can sit up independently without using arms for balance (6-7 months of age)
- Put a pillow under baby’s feet so he/she is not standing flat footed or on tiptoe
- Interact with baby while they play in the exersaucer
Armed with this information, parents can use the following answers as a guide for exersaucer time:
Babies love exersaucers, and there is no long term harm if playtime in the exersaucer starts at the right stage of their development (6-7 months, or sitting up without using arms for balance), and you ensure their posture and standing aren’t impacted.
Limit playtime to 15 minutes a day, and find a new mommy/daddy break toy when they start pulling themselves up independently (around 10 months). Follow these simple tips, and you and baby should enjoy many safe and happy exersaucer breaks together.