We’ve all heard of, and probably seen, baby walkers. They’re supposed to be gadgets that parents generally use to help their kids learn to walk. Now an exersaucer is something similar, but is a stationary device that enables the baby to move the saucer part and happily play around with the toys attached to a colorful tray while bouncing up and down. Incidentally, the original ExerSaucer® was pioneered by Evenflo®, but has since become identified with anything that looks and works similar. So even though the actual name may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, there’s actually a wide choice of this type of product to select from.
Top 4 Best Exersaucer
Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
This is Fisher-Price’s version of an exersaucer. Basically, the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo is a baby jumper, like all exersaucers are. But if you’re looking for something that’s really comfortable and designed for safety, you may like to check out the features of this one. It’s quite a durable little thing, made of metal, plastic and polyester. The Jumperoo has a whole lot of stuff seeking to stimulate the visual and auditory senses of your baby, along with its motor skills.
- Seat is 360 degrees rotating, yet comfortable
- Pivoted frame is designed to allow opening from the top
- Frame can be tucked away when not in use
- Equipped with jumping, spinning and moving facilities
- Has colorful, fun toys at five locations on the saucer-shaped platform
- Equipped with a wide range of exhilarating music and lights to keep your baby entertained
- Baby’s hand can get trapped as yellow toy swings inward, towards the child
- Seat design is poor quality, with cloth moving around with the baby
- Not very stable and tends to become wobby after some use
- Toys are not good quality and are quickly rendered useless
Sassy Inspire The Senses Bounce Around Activity Center
As the name suggests, the Sassy Inspire The Senses Bounce Around Activity Center is a play center where your baby can bounce all it likes. One of the excellent features of this exersaucer is its adjustable height, which you can customize to your baby’s needs through a choice of three different positions. An innovative feature of this gadget is its pod system, which allows you to change the toys with your baby’s favorite ones.
- Extremely stable feet, ensuring no wobbliness
- High level of comfort ingrained in the design of the seat
- Seat comes with 360 degrees’ rotation and can be easily removed
- Seat pad is machine washable, and quite easy to clean and maintain
- It’s equipped with a range of entertaining stuff, including Ladybug play station, sunshine mirror spinner, wonder wheel and four removable toys
- Toys are designed to stimulate the baby’s senses with bold designs and bright/contrasting colors
- Accessories may not be as promised by the manufacturer
- Prone to tipping if baby jumps back and forth instead of up and down
- Child’s hand/fingers can get stuck in some of the toys
Baby Einstein Activity Jumper Special Edition, Neighborhood Friends
If the Baby Einstein Activity Jumper Special Edition, Neighborhood Friends, is a `special edition’ exersaucer, it’s not without a reason or two. The upgraded seat is the key feature that the manufacturers say makes this jumper special. They have added padding and height to the seat to enhance the comfort level for your precious little one, and also to keep you comfortably relaxed in the knowledge that your baby is happily ensconced in it. Also, this upgraded version has more than 12 multi-sensory activities to keep your child busy.
- Highly secure seat, which rotates 360 degrees to give your baby access to all the toys
- Has five height settings to keep pace with your baby’s growth
- Equipped with as many as 4 fun activity stations (classical songs, light-activating piano, and language learning in English, French and Spanish)
- Storage is somewhat complex, requiring the exersaucer to be disassembled first
- Seat is difficult to maneuver and needs a lot of effort to spin
- Seat isn’t too deep and may cause your baby to slip off
Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center
As pioneers of the exersaucer, Evenflo ought to know what a good one should be all about. Apart from the usual features of every Evenflo product, the Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center is designed for extended usage as it combines the exersaucer with a playmat and an activity table – all rolled into one. Another notable feature worth mentioning is the facility to lock the baby seat in multiple positions, making it an extremely safe contraption.
- Equipped with 11 fun toys and music to nurture your baby through 10 development stages
- Made of plastic, ensuring comfort and safety
- Easy to fold, enabling convenience of travel and storage
- Seat can be adjusted at three different height positions
- Seat pad is removable and machine washable
- Bouncing is virtually non-existent
- Somewhat tough to assemble
- Price is on the higher side
- Seat doesn’t have padding
- Toys can be easily pulled off
While the Evenflo does have the advantage of being the original, when it comes to choosing the best exersaucer for your little one, its lack of bounce puts it at a disadvantage. The Baby Einstein Activity Jumper Special Edition, Neighborhood Friends, on the other hand, seems to package the best of exersaucer features which you’d probably want for your baby. Not only is it a whole lot of fun, like the others reviewed here, it’s also high on safety, unlike the other models that we’ve checked out for you and which seem to be deficient in terms of safety in some or the other way. Safety, comfort and fun are blended in the Fisher-Price to deliver what promises to be a positive experience for your child and for you. It’s designed to stimulate your child’s major motor skills, along with its visual and auditory senses. With its exciting toys and its comfortable, rotating seat, your child is likely to want to spend all its time in this – something you may find difficult to handle. But then all good things in life come for a price, don’t they?
How exersaucers differ from baby walkers
Exersaucers are fast replacing baby walkers the world over, amid concerns expressed about the risks posed to babies by the regular old-fashioned walkers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has even called for a ban on the wheeled walkers, pointing to the fact that thousands of babies are injured every year due to their use. The major problem with the traditional baby walker is that your little one can tip over it and fall. Many pediatricians also believe that walkers may delay some types of the baby’s development processes since they don’t encourage babies to crawl or scoot around independently. These are critical stages of your child’s development, and missing out on them can cause your baby to become weak in the lower legs and cause delayed walking.
Is exersaucer a better alternative?
There are conflicting views on how beneficial an exersaucer is as an alternative to the walker. While many doctors are of the opinion that it’s a better option since an exersaucer doesn’t obstruct a child’s natural development, others feel it’s not the greatest of alternatives since parents tend to use them for kids who’re either too little or too big for it, causing problems with posture. These experts consider this piece of equipment more suitable as an entertainment source rather than a gadget designed for proper development of a child. The problem with an exersaucer, according to the opponents, is that the child is forced to keep its hips in an extended position for a prolonged period. And also, since the child can’t see its legs, it could hamper its chances of learning to move by itself. The use of the exersaucer for short periods in a day is what most doctors seem to recommend, and what you may want to opt for.
Posture problems with exersaucer
As mentioned, a major problem with an exersaucer is related to posturing. Though your baby is likely to be less prone to injury in an exersaucer than in a traditional walker on wheels, posture is one thing you may find your little one losing out on in the former. Evidently, what happens is that babies in exersaucers tend to lean their head back too far, with their shoulders raised extremely high and their hips spread wide by a stiff and stretched piece of cloth. The baby’s back also gets arched, with its belly sticking out, in this position. It’s quite an uncomfortable position for your cutie pie to be in, to say the least. Then there’s also the baby’s standing position, which an exersaucer seems to hamper. What happens is that this gadget helps a baby stand by locking its knees. Not only does this cause some important muscles to weaken but it also forces the baby’s full weight on its toes, leading to excessive development of its calf muscle. It can even cause toe walking in some kids. Balance is another thing you need to consider while using an exersaucer. Babies spending too much time in these products are seen to lose control over their balance more easily.
But an exersaucer does have its benefits
So does this mean you shouldn’t use an exersaucer for your baby? No, not really. An exersaucer does have its benefits too. As far as entertainment goes, an exersaucer can be a great way to keep your babies well entertained. It’s a fun place for the babies to be in, while also providing them with the opportunity to learn new skills with the help of all the colorful toys attached to it. Then there’s the benefit to you, as a parent. If you’re busy in the kitchen or some other part of the house, you can simply put your child in an exersaucer, where there’s no risk of it getting into some kind of mischief or accidentally rolling away. Given these benefits, it may be a good idea to use an exersaucer in moderation, for a limited time every day. As long as you don’t look at an exersaucer as a walking aid for your baby, it’s ok to keep it around for those moments when you really need to keep your little one busy while you go around completing your routine but important chores.
What to look for in an exersaucer
Now that you’ve decided to go for an exersaucer as a better alternative to a walker, the question is – what should you really look for in a good exersaucer? To begin with, you should find one which has a range of height adjustments to meet the needs of your growing child. Then there’s the seat, which should ideally spin 360 degrees, as that’s where the whole fun lies. A whole lot of stimulating and colorful toys, with a large variety of sounds, are also a must for your exersaucer if it’s to serve its purpose of keeping your child well and truly entertainment. Apart from these, a really critical feature to take note of is the safety aspect (after all, that’s why you’re going for an exersaucer instead of choosing a walker!). Be sure there are no intrusive or sharp edges to hurt your baby. Also, it shouldn’t have any small parts that your child can remove and accidentally swallow.