Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

A bouncer, also called a bouncy seat or bouncy chair, is a fabric baby container with some type of harness or straps.

Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

It’s called a bouncer because generally, the seat ‘bounces’ a little when the baby moves, or when a caregiver applies light pressure.

Bouncers place infants at a seated incline.

They are intended for infants who are unable to sit up on their own.

Note that in this article we’ll be using the terms bouncer, bouncy seat, and bouncy chair interchangeably.

Baby bouncers can be so soothing that bub often bounce themselves to sleep. But is it safe to leave a sleeping baby in a bouncer? The emphatic answer is no. There have been instances of babies dying after being left to sleep in a bouncer or swing – and these aren’t just stories to frighten parents, it’s a reality.

Red Nose explains that there’s no Australian Standard for bouncers, so it’s worth continually checking that your bouncer hasn’t been involved in any incidents of children being harmed. The most common injuries associated with bouncers are falls and entrapment, but also deaths from babies sleeping in bouncers.

Why can’t my baby sleep in a bouncer?

It’s long been recommended by Red Nose that babies are put down to sleep on their backs, on a firm and flat surface. If a baby falls asleep while propped up, their head can fall forward which pushes their chin to their chest, and their little airway is blocked.

Other safety concerns with bouncers

It’s recommended that you always check the weight, height and age restrictions that come with any bouncer or swing – and they usually differ between brands and types. Most of them will recommend that the device isn’t used once bub can sit, roll or crawl. That’s because once baby is on the move, they’re more likely to topple their bouncer.

Also, always make sure it’s used on a flat, safe surface that’s not elevated. Just make that any pets (and inquisitive siblings!) are also supervised while bub is in the bouncer and that you’re always close by keeping an eye on your little one to see that they haven’t drifted off to sleep. Also, always do up the harness that’s attached to the bouncer, so bub is secure. You may assume your little one isn’t on the move – but they tend to start when we least expect it!

Baby bouncer safety tips:

  • Stick to the age, weight and milestone restrictions of each bouncer.
  • Make sure straps are done up and snug.
  • Always watch baby while in the bouncer.
  • Never let bub sleep in the bouncer or swing.
  • Keep the bouncer on the floor, never on an elevated surface.

6 baby bouncers other mums recommend

Here are six great bouncers that will keep your tot happily giggling along while you go hands-free for a little while, as voted by the mums in our closed Facebook baby groups.

Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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Can a baby sleep in a rocker overnight

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We have a huge archive of baby safety articles, including why you shouldn’t let bub sleep in their car seat:

  • How to swaddle a baby safely
  • Why babies shouldn’t sleep in car capsules
  • The winter car seat tip every parent should know

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It’s no secret that babies love movement: rocking, swaying, bouncing, jiggling, sashaying — if it involves a rhythmic motion, you can sign them up. And most babies would prefer to sleep in motion, too, nestled into a baby swing, car seat, or rocker.

The only problem? These seats aren’t the safest sleep spots. Pediatricians call them “sitting devices,” and they’ve been linked to an increased risk of suffocation when used for sleep.

But before you panic and kick your beloved baby swing to the curb, know this: A swing can be an amazing, sanity-saving tool when used correctly (like soothing a cranky baby while you cook dinner within sight). It just isn’t a substitute crib, and it shouldn’t be used that way.

If your baby has developed a habit of sleeping in the swing, here’s everything you need to know about why you should start breaking that habit — and how to do it.

How to use a baby swing safely

The first thing you need to know about baby swings is that they aren’t dangerous if you use them the way they were designed to be used. That means:

  • Reading the package insert for directions on use of your swing and any buckles or attachments that come with it. (Also make note of any height and weight limits for your specific swing; some babies may be too big or too small to use a swing safely.)
  • Not letting your baby sleep in the swing for prolonged periods of time. A catnap under your supervision might be fine, but your baby definitely shouldn’t spend the night sleeping in the swing while you’re asleep, too. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends moving your baby from the swing to a safe sleeping place if they fall asleep in the swing.
  • Understanding that the swing is an activity device, not a replacement for a crib or bassinet. You should use the swing as a place to safely distract, contain, or soothe your baby when you need a break.

These same tips apply to any sitting device your child might need to use. A car seat, for example, is considered the safest way for a baby to travel. It’s not, however, a safe place for a baby to sleep outside a vehicle.

Risks of sitting devices like swings

Why is sleeping in a seated position so dangerous for babies? It’s because their neck muscles aren’t fully developed, so sleeping at a semi-upright angle can cause the weight of their heads to put pressure on their necks and cause them to slump over. In some cases, this slumping can lead to suffocation.

In a 10-year study performed by the AAP, sitting devices — identified in this study as car seats, strollers, swings, and bouncers — were found to have caused 3 percent, or 348, of the nearly 12,000 infant deaths studied. Of that 3 percent, about 62 percent of the deaths happened in car safety seats. Most of the babies were between 1 and 4 months old.

What’s more, the seats were largely not being used as directed, with more than 50 percent of the deaths happening at home. The study also found that these deaths were more common when babies were being supervised by a nonparent caregiver (like a babysitter or grandparent).

We’re not trying to scare you, but it’s important to only use your infant devices for their intended purpose — and make sure anyone who supervises your child also knows where and how your baby can safely sleep.

Recalls of baby swings

In the past, some baby swings have been recalled for their connection to infant death or injury. For example, Graco recalled millions of swings back in 2000 because of issues with the restraint belts and trays.

Almost two decades later, they began issuing recalls for their rocking sleepers due to suffocation risks for babies who could roll over onto their sides or stomachs.

Meanwhile, Fisher-Price recalled three models of swings in 2016 after consumers reported that a peg meant to hold the swing seat in place popped out (causing the seat to fall).

In spite of these recalls, it’s worth remembering that there’s never been a broad ban on all baby swings and that most swings are generally safe when you use them correctly.

How to break the habit

We get it: You’re exhausted, your baby is exhausted, and everyone needs sleep. If your baby sleeps best in the swing, you might not have the motivation to force them to sleep somewhere less comfortable (and go back to being a sleep-deprived zombie).

But if you’re still reading this, you know a swing isn’t the safest place for your baby to sleep. Here are some tips for making the transition to a crib or bassinet:

  • If your baby is under 4 months old, move them to a crib or bassinet once they’ve fallen asleep in the swing. This may help them slowly acclimate to their crib for sleep.
  • If your baby is over 4 months old, you may want to consider some form of sleep training. At this point, moving your baby from the swing to the crib while they’re sleeping could create a sleep onset association, which is a whole other headache you don’t want (trust us!).
  • Practice putting your baby down to sleep in the crib drowsy but awake. Use a white noise machine or fan and room-darkening curtains to make the environment as sleep-friendly as possible.
  • Keep your baby’s swing in a busy, well-lit, and/or noisy area of the house during the day, reframing it as a place where fun things happen. This will teach your baby that the swing is for playing, not sleeping.

If none of these strategies work or you’re feeling too tired to function, reach out to your baby’s pediatrician for help. If your baby is really struggling to sleep in the crib, there may be a medical reason like reflux that makes a flat surface uncomfortable for them.

At the very least, your child’s doctor might be able to help you troubleshoot the transition from swing to crib a little more quickly.

The takeaway

You don’t have to delete that baby swing from your registry (or bring the one gifted to you by Aunt Linda to the town dump). When used as an activity device, not a sleeping environment, a swing can keep your baby occupied while you get a much-needed break.

But until they have better neck control, the only safe place for a baby to sleep is on their back on a firm, flat surface so their airways remain open for breathing. You can find the AAP’s current safe sleep recommendations here.

Can baby sleep in rocker all night?

Nov. 7, 2019 -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning parents not let a baby sleep in rockers, pillows, car seats, or any other product that holds an infant at an incline -- with their head higher than their feet.

How long can a baby stay in a rocker?

A baby who can already sit up, can spend 30 minutes a day in a rocker. However, you cannot keep your baby in it for more than 2 hours every day - that's too long. The baby should be given the opportunity to lie down on a flat, firm surface.

Can a baby sleep in a rocker swing?

No, it isn't safe for your baby to sleep in a swing. Infants haven't developed their muscles enough to hold up their heads. Babies easily fall asleep anywhere, so they might try to take a nap in the swing. If they're not in a reclined position, they might slump their head forward, which can block their oxygen flow.