Exersaucers are a rescue to toddlers’ parents and caregivers as they give them some time off babies and a pause.
Though most pediatric therapists strongly oppose the use of exersaucer, it does offer excellent entertainment to the baby.
Parents should maintain a proper balance of its use time to let it be fun and safe.
Also, when used with babies of proper exersaucer age limit, it does not seriously impact the baby.
What is the Exersaucer Age Limit?
When using these interactive toys, make sure it’s appropriate both in size and quality for your little toddler.
Though most people put 4 months into the exersaucer, the below recommendations are appropriate for healthy usage.
- For 4-6 months babies, seating them on the outer edge of the exersaucer is appropriate. They can play and take support but not bounce inside it yet.
- When 6-7 months old, they sit independently without the help of arms and can play by sitting in the exersaucer.
- Stop using them after 24 months or when the baby is 30 inches tall
Ensure to check the age and weight limitations of the exersaucer model while purchasing.
Many manufacturers provide exersaucers with different models for certain age limits.
Choosing an age-appropriate model makes it more comfortable for the baby.
Story of Exersaucers
During the 90s, walkers were causing several toddler troubles, and parents needed a better way to keep their kids invested in something fun, safe.
While on walkers, ground-level babies gained sudden mobility that opened up the access for babies into an unsafe zone.
There were stories of them falling down the stairs, reaching for hot stoves, or even tumbling over when something came in their way.
Also, babies’ walking without them starting to walk naturally was taxing on the little bodies.
Their movement patterns and terrible biomechanics developed during this process delayed the baby’s independent walking ability.
One baby product company attempted to modify these walkers into a stable entertainment station.
This led to the birth of exersaucers, which were made stationary for safety yet allowed the baby to bounce about happily in the same place.
Toys present on an exersaucer add the extra advantage of developing sensory and fine motor skills.
They are a bonus addition as they capture the baby’s attention with their bright colors.
Advantages Of An Exersaucer
An exersaucer has several vibrant colors, sensory toys, buttons, lights, and sounds to keep the baby busy for a good amount of time.
This allows parents and caregivers to catch a breath for a short while even when the baby is awake, otherwise impossible.
The little time we get is useful in many ways, such as flopping on the couch to take a shower.
You can do dishes or change the laundry or anything you can think of what you can’t do by taking the attention away from the baby.
Coming to the baby, they have super fun while bouncing and rocking themselves to their heart’s content.
Simple activities such as turning the plastic pages keep them fascinated and develop their fine motor skills.
Disadvantages of an Exersaucer
Despite being a safer alternative to the walker, exersaucers do come with certain disadvantages. Particularly the pediatric therapy community criticized the poor posture issues.
- The stiff fabric that supports them between their legs causes their hips to drift away. The shoulder blades are pulled back too far and raised too high. Also, the head is tilted back too far as they try to settle in the exersaucer.
- The knees are still tender to bear their standing weight. To compensate for this weakness, they lock out their knees.
- Babies also tend to bear the body weight on their toes and not the whole foot. That may lead to toe walking if the condition is severe. It also affects the calf muscles as they overgrow when babies use only their toes instead of their whole foot.
- Babies spending too much time in exersaucers will develop a poor sense of balance. Their center of gravity shifts forward, which interferes with the balance feedback that the brain receives through the proprioceptors in their joints and muscles.
- These receptors help identify the position adjustment required to avoid a fall. When on an exersaucer, babies do not need to adjust their position as they have support not to let them fall. It hinders the development of their balance control sense.
- When learning to balance or stand independently, babies need to look at their feet. While in exersaucer, it is impossible to learn these actions, it becomes challenging for them.
See a related post: Baby Swings Age Limit
All in all, exersaucers are perfect play toys for babies when used within the prescribed exersaucer age limit and only for 15 minutes a day playtime.
Babies enjoy being in them and the parents for the little free time they can enjoy.
Frequently Answered Questions
Why Should You Not Leave Babies For More Time In An Exersaucer?
More time in exersaucer means less human interaction, which is not so good for the baby’s first year.
Human touch helps in their healthy development as it makes them feel loved and accepted.
Leaving babies on an exersaucer for a long time, saying that they are learning is not justifiable.
Babies need to spend only a certain amount of time to let them enjoy the benefits of exersaucer along with avoiding the side effects of using it.
Do Exersaucers Hinder Gross Motor Development?
Though the baby can practice a few fine motor skills, when playing in an exersaucer, they miss the opportunity to exercise gross motor skills.
Active exploration sharpens their motor and cognitive skills as they try to move around and grab things.
In reaching for objects far from their reach, they try to scoot, roll, crawl and pull to stand position naturally.
Although exersaucers include many toys providing sensory stimulation and opportunities for problem-solving, all toys are set right in front of them.
It deprives them of the opportunities to challenge their gross motor development to explore their environment.
What Are The Tips To Help Babies Use Exersaucers Comfortably?
Placing a pillow under their feet helps you avoid many foot issues. Use stabilizing legs and limit the rocking action to a safe level.
Interact with the baby by speaking to them while you do your chores when they are in exersaucer.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.