Toddlers are interested in exploring the world. As your babies grow up day by day, they will be curious about everything around them. The thing is, their interests in a certain thing can only last 5 to 10 mins.
In the crazy pandemic as we are right now, parents need to take care of 10,000 things while entertaining their kids. And trust me, if your kiddo comes to you every 5 or 10 mins, your patience will drain quickly.
Many parents have chosen activity centers to keep their kiddos busy and entertained. Activity centers are also known as exersaucers or baby play gyms. They are considered a miniature world of babies.
Some parents and doctors discourage the use of activity centers, while others strongly recommend them. This leaves parents wondering whether activity centers are good or bad for children.
Are activity centers good for babies? In this article, we will lay out the good and bad sides of activity centers for kids. From there, you can decide what is right for your baby.
The Good of Activity Centers
First of all, let's take a look at the reasons why you might want to buy activity centers for your baby!
Keep your baby entertained
The activity centers are featured with many attached toys, music, or lights with a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. Those toys will stimulate children's motor skills and body coordination. Young children can play with these toys without getting bored.
Help parents rest
I understand that parents need a break. You can't hold your baby in your arms all day, right? You need to put your baby down somewhere to rest or do personal things, but you don't want your baby to crawl around.
Then activity centers will be a good choice for you!
Activity centers will help you keep your baby for a while so you can focus on other things. When your baby plays in the activity centers, you can clean the house, wash the clothes, clean the dishes or take a nap.
Babies Can Practice New Skills
The toys attached to the activity centers are often bright and eye-catchy, which will greatly help your child develop new skills. They stimulate the baby's eyesight, encouraging your baby to catch them. Children will learn how to reach an object, grasp an object, press a button, and more.
Moreover, some activity centers are also considered baby walkers. When your baby is in those activity centers, he or she will be able to stand or walk. When using this device, the baby's body weight will be supported against the support frame of the activity centers. This will help your baby learn to stand and walk.
Harms Of Baby Activity Centers
Risk of injury
Many parents think that activity centers are safe places where they can "send" their baby for a few minutes. However, there are quite a few serious head injury accidents in children related to this item. Not only that, but many hospitals also receive many cases of children falling due to activity centers rolling down the stairs.
Children can move at about 1m/s while in activity centers. This speed is overwhelming for a baby and can lead to loss of balance. When children lose balance and fall, the head is the organ that suffers the most damage.
Most falls from activity centers can lead to head injuries in young children. A baby's head is still soft, and the brain is still developing. So any serious injury can have long-term health effects in the future.
Impact on the normal development of the baby
Activity centers are designed with lots of toys to help your baby relax and play. It will bring laughter to the baby. However, letting your baby sit in activity centers is completely discouraged.
Activity centers do not make children's legs stronger, but on the contrary, they also affect the perception of hips and knees. This condition can lead to long-term damage to the pelvis, leading to bone deformities, causing some leg deformities.
When traveling by activity centers, children tend to stand on their toes. This inadvertently causes the muscles in the legs not to develop properly, and the baby will not get used to walking on the whole foot. More seriously, the nervous system will also be deprived of the sensory information needed for the child to learn to walk.
Are Activity Centers Good For Babies Under 12 Months? The Age-guide
A big question that many parents ask when buying activity centers for their children is: Are activity centers good for babies under 12 months? As parents, we have also researched this issue thoroughly and have found the answer. You absolutely can use activity centers for babies under 12 months old without worrying about any risks.
The most appropriate age for a child to be able to use activity centers is from 8 to 9 months old. At this time, many babies can sit, and their bones are much stronger, so the mother can let the baby sit in activity centers.
Top 3 Best Activity Center For 6 Month Old
Here are the top 3 best activity center for 6 month old you should consider buying:
Best Overall: Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo
Fisher-Price's Rainforest Jumeproo is packed with fun potential to keep your little one entertained. Children can immerse themselves in the jungle world, making friends with animals such as elephants, giraffes, or tigers. The 360-degree swivel seat can be adjusted to three different heights to keep your child comfortable in any position.
Best Budget: Evenflo Exersaucer Moovin & Groovin Activity Center
If you are looking for a product with a moderate price, this is the best choice for you. It offers a world of entertainment with 13 different activities with lights, sounds, and revolving seats so the baby can see it all. Modern colors and wooden accents set this product apart from other plastic activity centers. The height of the product can be adjusted with 4 different positions. In particular, this product is quite light in weight, so you can easily move it from room to room at will.
Best for Small Spaces: Fisher-Price Jumperoo: Woodland Friends SpaceSaver
This product will bring your baby a world of fun toys with lively sounds and lights. Your baby can play with these toys without ever getting bored. The bright colors will help your baby develop cognitive and visual abilities.
Measuring 6.89 x 22.99 x 23.5 inches, this is a product specially designed for small spaces and won't take up much space in your home. You can fold it almost flat and easily store it away when not in use or move it from place to place at will.
Why shouldn't children sit in activity centers early?
For young children, their skeletal system is still very weak. If children sit in activity centers, it can affect the spine, neck, muscles, and cartilage of the baby's bones.
When children do not know how to sit, sitting in activity centers puts pressure on the spine, leading to the risk that children may have hunchback or curvature. When the bones are weak, the cartilage that is the basis for bone growth is also affected when the baby is forced to sit early. As a result, pressure on bone cartilage can lead to early fibrosis and slower bone growth. As a result, the child may not reach his or her maximum height.
When children learn to walk too early, it is also a cause of unsightly legs. Moreover, when sitting in plastic round activity centers early, children often try to stretch their legs to let the centers run. This creates the habit of walking on 5 toes which is not good for children at all.
How long should babies stay in activity centers?
Parents who rely too much on activity centers to keep their kids can inadvertently slow down their baby's motor development as they crawl and learn to walk. Therefore, it is best to limit your child's time in activity centers to 15 to 20 minutes and no more than two sessions per day.
Do activity centers help your baby learn to walk faster?
The answer is not!
Many people think that using activity centers will help children learn to walk faster. However, children who used activity centers learned to walk a month later than children who did not.
Although the baby moves, the body weight is not lifted by the legs or musculoskeletal system when using this device. Still, it completely relies on the support frame of the activity centers. Over time, the baby's skeletal system may not develop as strongly as usual.
Whether using activity centers or not, when the time is right, your baby will learn to walk and be able to walk normally. Even children who do not use activity centers will have stronger bones, muscles, and ligaments than children who use activity centers.
Thus, using activity centers will not be good for the baby's muscle and bone development. And they also do not work to make the baby learn to walk faster. Instead, the mother should let the baby develop according to his or her ability.
Activity Centers or Exersaucers are widely available and they can entertain your kiddos and give you a short break while still keeping an eye on your kiddos. Are activity centers good for babies? Well, everything has a good and a bad side. And definitely overdosing anything is bad (just like medicine).
If you decide that an activity center is essential for your kiddo and you are sure that you will not rely on it too much, make sure you go through our suggestions for the top ones in the market.