Movement is a critical component in the growth and development of infants and children. Not only their physical development, but their social, emotional and cognitive development as well.
Through movement, children strengthen their communication and critical thinking skills as they explore and interact with the world around them. Movement also fosters a sense of self-confidence. With this, children use their bodies to solve problems and achieve their goals.
As parents, our responsibility is to provide our children with safe, stimulating opportunities to move and interact with their environments every day. We can help them explore movement through low-tech options like music, touch and other sensory play. This can also be done through toys, educational TV shows and even apps for tablets and smartphones.
Over time, one of the movement accessories that has endured in popularity is the baby jumper. And for good reason! These springy seats encourage physical activity, and provide sensory stimulation. Perhaps best of all, baby jumpers elicit endless belly laughter from both children and parents.
If you’re a new parent considering purchasing a jumper—or an experienced parent exploring new options this time around—read on for everything you need to know. We will help you select the best baby jumper model for your child’s personality and home environment.
What Is a Baby Jumper?
The term “baby jumper” has come to include a wide variety of activity seats for infants. A few of these are bouncers, activity centers, stationary jumpers, “exersaucers” and “jumperoos.” Let’s take a closer look at what each of these models offers your child, and which should be considered as the best baby jumper.
The first doorway jumpers began selling in 1948 under the Jolly Jumper brand name, which still exists today. These infant exercisers are essentially ergonomically designed harnesses that hang from a doorway in your home. Doorway jumpers allow babies to develop strength, balance and coordination.
Advantages of doorway jumpers include that they require minimal space, and also tend to come in at a lower cost compared to alternatives. However, disadvantages of doorway jumpers include potential safety concerns, and a lack of supplementary activities and stimuli for your baby.
If you prefer not to use a doorway to hang the jumper, some brands sell free-standing frames that may be used to suspend the jumper. This design offers additional versatility but also requires additional setup time and effort.
Advantages of stationary jumpers include that they are freestanding units, not requiring doorway setup, and that they can be used in many different spaces, even outdoors. However, disadvantages of stationary jumpers include that there are extensive potential stability and safety concerns.
These floor-based jumpers may also be called “exersaucers” or “jumperoos” and typically feature attachments with interactive objects and toys. This includes things such as rattles, mirrors, buttons and other features to entertain and stimulate your child as they jump.
Advantages of activity centers include their versatility and that they are typically very easy to transport. They also offer a wide range of features that are made to entertain and engage your baby. However, disadvantages of activity jumpers includes that they can require significant floor space, and can be over-stimulating to some children.
How Old Should My Baby Be to Use a Jumper?
Different models may vary in their recommendations. Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s instructions prior to using a jumper with your child. Generally, infants can begin using a jumper between four and six months of age. However, the determining factor is neck strength. Babies must be able to hold their heads up unsupported in order to use a jumper safely.
Most parents discontinue jumper use once babies are walking on their own. Additionally, most jumpers have a maximum weight limit for use (typically between 25 to 30 pounds).
Which Jumper Style is Best for My Child?
When evaluating your options for a baby jumper, be sure to consider the following key factors:
- Age and size guidelines: Select a model that will fit your child’s age, height and weight both now and into the future
- Adjustable height: You should be able to adjust the height of the jumper’s harness or seat so your child’s feet are properly positioned for jumping and other movement.
- Size and dimensions: Consider the amount of space you’ll need for each model and whether it will easily fit into your home’s current configuration. If space is at a premium, a doorway jumper may be a better choice for your family than a fully loaded floor-based activity center.
- Cord configuration: If you plan to purchase a doorway jumper, select one with dual springs or cords or a shorter single cord to provide additional stability and reduce the risk of injury.
- Ease of cleaning: If your jumper of choice has a fabric seat or harness, make sure it’s easy to remove and machine wash when the inevitable diaper blowout occurs. Plastic parts and attachments should also be removable or easy to wipe clean and sanitize.
Best Baby Jumper: Our Top Picks
While the information above can help you narrow down your choices, you still have a dizzying number of options to sort through when selecting the best jumper for your little one. Most busy parents don’t have an endless supply of time or energy to compare and contrast every jumper on the market, which is why we’ve done the work for you.
The jumpers on this list represent the cream of the crop in each category, so you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Keep reading for an overview of the best jumpers on the market today based on design, cost, portability and a host of other key factors.
The bright colors and friendly animal shapes on this jungle-themed jumper will provide hours of sensory engagement and motor skills development and engagement for your child. Features include lights, sounds and music along with buttons to push and toys to grab, and the seat rotates 360 degrees to make it easy for babies to engage with both the jumper and their environment.
The jumper’s broad base and solid steel frame check all the boxes for safety, and there are no exposed springs or pinch points to catch little fingers. The seat can be adjusted to three different heights to grow with your child, and it’s also removable for easy cleaning. The Animal Activity Jumperoo can be quickly taken apart and reassembled for convenient storage and travel, so there’s no need for the fun to end when you travel.
Pros of Fisher-Price Animal Activity Jumperoo
- Colorful toys, lights, sounds and textures stimulate all senses
- Simple set-up makes it versatile and portable
- Wide base and steel frame make it one of the safest models around
Cons of Fisher-Price Animal Activity Jumperoo
- Requires significant floor space
- Light and sound features require batteries to operate
- Limited height adjustment options
The Graco Doorway Bumper Jumper is one of the best baby jumper options, and attaches easily to most door frames and features a built-in tray and several toy attachments for extra playtime fun. The soft fabric seat pads are removable and machine washable to make cleaning a breeze. Specially-designed straps and a plastic dome keep the straps separated to reduce twisting or knotting, and no-mark clamps prevent damage to your doorways. The jumper height is fully adjustable, and the device accommodates children up to 25 pounds.
Pros of the Graco Doorway Bumper Jumper
- Includes more toys than most doorway jumpers
- Easy to clean and maintain
Cons of the Graco Doorway Bumper Jumper
- Baby may experience balance issues when leaning too far to one side
Jolly Jumper developed the original doorway jumper, which at the time was definitely the best baby jumper. While the design has evolved over the decades, the company has maintained the high quality and safety on which it built its reputation.
The Jolly Jumper attaches securely to most door frames and moldings, making it space-efficient for both play and storage. The jumper’s height can be fine-tuned by adding or removing links in the chain, making it infinitely adjustable as your baby grows.
The safety harness allows considerable freedom of movement while also providing proper support to baby’s spine to ensure that he or she is safely positioned while jumping. The breathable fabric seat and straps are machine washable and gentle on sensitive skin.
Pros of the Jolly Jumper with Door Clamp
- Close-fitting harness is perfect for smaller babies
- Requires minimal space to use
- Stores easily
Cons of the Jolly Jumper with Door Clamp
- May not fit all door frames
- Exposed spring can pinch fingers
Full-sized activity centers provide a wide range of play and movement options for babies, but they can also require a considerable commitment of floor space. Regardless, many of the best baby jumper options are activity centers.
The Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center not only has a smaller footprint than other activity centers, but it also converts to a play mat and play table to accommodate various stages of your child’s development.
From birth to four months of age, use the Exersaucer in its play mat form to provide visual stimulation for your infant. When your child is ready, the play mat converts into an activity center featuring nearly a dozen exciting toys and sounds to encourage fine motor skills, object exploration, tactile development and more. Once your child begins walking, the unit transforms again, this time into an S-shaped activity table that your child can use to play while sitting or standing.
Pros of the Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun
- Folds flat for easy travel and storage
- Offers a wide range of play options as baby grows
- Seat/mat component is machine-washable
- Toys can be removed for use alone with other Evenflo products
Cons of the Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun
- Seat only adjusts to three heights in activity center mode
- Requires 9 AAA batteries
Designed in partnership with a pediatrician, the Skip Hop Explore and More Baby Center provides a whole-body approach to your child’s physical and intellectual development. The 360-degree rotating seat encourages movement and exploration, while the unique Discovery Window feature allows babies to see their feet as they play for lessons in spatial awareness and cause-and-effect. The activity center includes more than 25 developmental activities, including a musical light-up piano, bead chaser, peek-a-boo owl and many more.
Once your child is old enough to begin walking, the activity center converts to a “cruising table” that allows her to stand and play with the toys while using the table for stability. This is truly one of the most versatile and best baby jumper options on the market.
After she outgrows the center’s toys and other features, the center can be used as a sturdy flat-top table for snacking, coloring and other play. You’re sure to get years of useful life from this unit, making it an excellent value.
Pros of the Skip Hop Explore and More Baby Center
- Three-stage design grows with your child for long-term use
- Discovery Window offers unique developmental opportunities
- More than 25 toys and activities will keep your child entertained and engaged for hours
Cons of the Skip Hop Explore and More Baby Center
- Doesn’t fold for easy storage or transport
- Some toy positions pose risk of pinched fingers
For families on the go, the Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump is an answered prayer. This lightweight, easy-to-transport activity jumper goes from folded to full-sized in about 90 seconds and comes in its own travel bag. The unit provides a soft cloth surface for babies to jump and move on as they play with the attached interactive toys, which include a spinner ball, rattle, teether and mirror book.
The included UV canopy on this best baby jumper for traveling shields baby’s sensitive skin from the sun’s damaging rays, and the jumping support seat can be removed and tossed in the washing machine after a hard day’s play.
Pros of the Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump
- Easy to assemble and disassemble on the go
- Includes travel bag for transport and storage
- Can be safely used outdoors
Cons of the Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump
- Limited toy options
- Seat only offers three height options
Like its doorway-suspended sibling, the stand-based Jolly Jumper provides many of the same benefits—freedom of movement, good spinal support and development of balance and motor skills—in a freestanding design. It also doesn’t include the toys, sounds and other stimuli that some of the other activity centers do, which may be a selling point for tired parents who just want a bit of peace and quiet while their babies jump. Regardless, this is one of the best baby jumper choices for parents not looking to overwhelm their child.
Pros of the Jolly Jumper with Portable Stand
- Doesn’t require a door frame for use
- No-frills design is simple and quiet
Cons of the Jolly Jumper with Portable Stand
- Requires significant floor space and height
- Challenging to assemble/set up
- Lightweight stand could pose stability issues for larger babies
Final Thoughts on the Best Baby Jumper
As you shop for the best baby jumper for your child, there are many factors to consider, including cost, safety, your child’s size, personality and stage of development and the amount of space you have available for set-up and use. Fortunately, with the dozens of models and features available today, you’re sure to find the best baby jumper that perfectly fits your family.