How to Choose a Baby Swing? FAQs Answered

By Shannon Bussnick, LSW

Are you scrolling incessantly through every ‘newborn must-have list’ before taking the plunge with your own baby registry?

Or maybe you’re wondering what can help soothe your little one now that they’re home and just about settled in? Well…look no farther!

Baby swings are one of those hot-ticket items that rookie parents, and veterans alike, will find extremely helpful to soothe and entertain their little one so that heap of laundry can finally get folded and the family pet can salvage a dose or two of long-awaited snuggles.     

Naturally, parents may question if placing their newborn inside of a swing can hinder development in any way, whether due to overstimulation or a lack thereof; but rest assured, swings are a great way for babies to scope out their new environment while they develop a wide range of new skills.

And while it’s true that there are dangers to baby swings when used incorrectly, or without the proper supervision, these up-to-date devices continue to be a safe way for babies to bask in the glory of motion while mommy and daddy stare in admiration just a few steps away.

Before deciding to place a baby inside of a swing, it’s important for parents to be well-versed in swing safety and to review some of the frequently asked questions (as shown below) before choosing one.   

Safety Tips

Oftentimes, it’s easy to become distracted, or dare I say act a bit impulsively, when we see a baby item that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye but may not meet the latest safety guidelines.

That’s not to say however that the baby products which are tried and tested to be the safest cannot also be stylish, because they most definitely can!

Still, it’s important to keep safety the priority when purchasing items for your baby; then if you’d like, narrow down your search by color, design, and bonus features.

If you’re in the market for a new baby swing, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your baby swing is sturdy, does not fold up easily, and meets the latest safety guidelines
  • Make sure shoulder straps intact and are used correctly at all times
  • Confirm the minimum and maximum weight in the item description
  • If a swing comes with a mobile device, or additional toys, ensure they are removable to protect against accidental injury
  • Understand that baby swings aren’t meant to be used for sleep under any circumstance, at any time of day or night (If a child falls asleep while using a baby swing they must be transferred to a firm, flat sleep surface.)
  • Keeping up with adequate tummy time will help build core and neck strength for your baby which can also aid in safe swing practice and injury prevention

(The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that newborns engage in tummy time 2-3 times per day for a duration of 3-5 minutes each time. As babies grow older and stronger, the frequency and duration of tummy time will increase.) 

  • Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions at all times when using a baby swing and remain proactive about checking for product recalls

Baby Swing FAQ’s

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, babysitter or other caretaker, it’s helpful to run through some of the frequently asked questions pertaining to baby swings and baby swing safety before purchasing one to use at home or at another location.  

Here are some of the many questions we found pertaining to baby swings and safety:

Q: How old should a baby be before using a swing?

A: Depending on the swing model and specifications, most baby swings are safe for newborns and infants up to about 6-months-old.

Typically, swings are no longer used when children are sitting up on their own and engaging in more active means of play.

However, always confirm the recommended weight range before placing your baby inside of a swing.

Most baby swings have an upper limit of 25-35lbs.

*If your baby is under 4 months old, it’s best to use the most reclined position available to prevent accidental injury. 

Q: How are baby swings used incorrectly?

A: Baby swings can be used incorrectly in the following ways:

  • failing to follow the weight-range listed by the manufacturer;
  • not properly using the harness straps attached to the swing;
  • allowing a baby to sleep in a swing;
  • leaving a baby in a swing unattended or for long durations of time as this can place pressure on the back of a baby’s head;
  • allowing a baby access to small toys, large blankets, or other hazards that could cause accidental injury while using a swing.

Q: Am I preventing my baby from learning how to self-soothe by using a baby swing?

A: The short answer is no.

Using baby swings for their intended purpose can be a great way to soothe and entertain a baby for short durations of time.

Just as pacifiers and lovey blankets are used to comfort little ones, swings can also produce a similar effect.

But just like with any soothing device, it’s best to use in moderation.

*Baby swings are not to be used as a substitute for caring for your baby or in meeting the physical and emotional needs of your baby.

Q: What should I do if my baby finally falls asleep in their swing and they’ve missed their previous naps?

A: As difficult as this may be, if your baby falls asleep while in a swing you must remove them from the device and transfer them to a flat, firm surface for sleep.

The same rule applies for car seats.

Though it’s safe for babies to fall asleep in their car seat while in the car, it’s not safe to allow babies to use car seats for sleeping when outside of the car.

Baby devices must be used for their intended purpose only.

Q: Why does my baby dislike their swing? And should I keep trying despite their aversion?

A: While most babies love the soft sound and gentle motion that swings offer, others may not be so keen about them.

Some babies may feel restricted when placed in one position and others may simply prefer being in a different location, like a tummy-time mat or in mommy and daddy’s arms.

Other factors can also affect how your baby responds to time in their swing: how rested they are, if they’re hungry, if their diaper is wet, and if they’re teething or under the weather.  

If you notice your baby isn’t too fond of a particular activity, it’s perfectly acceptable to try it again at a later time.

However, if you notice a pattern, it’s time to wrap it up and try something new!

Instructions for Choosing a Baby Swing

At first glance, choosing a baby swing may feel pretty intimidating with all of the available options out there today.

Taking the time to focus on safety before aesthetic will help bring peace of mind when making your selection.

Before you start browsing the aisles of your nearest baby store, or eagerly adding to cart (yes, we all do it!), consider this quick and easy checklist to choose the swing that’s right for your family.

  • Ensure the baby swing meets the latest safety guidelines
  • Confirm the minimum and maximum weight
  • Look for intact safety straps/harness/options for infant recline
  • Check if mobile devices or additional toys can be removed
  • Confirm the dimensions of the swing and that you’ll have adequate space
  • Note if inserts are machine-washable or can be easily wiped down


Photo by nedomacki


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