Stationary activity centers, stationary activity jumpers, and doorway jumpers require babies to sit upright. Weight and height maximums vary, so check the owner's manual. To use one, your baby must be able to hold her head up unassisted (around 6 months of age) but not be able to climb out of the product or walk.
Stationary activity centers
Stationary activity centers are the safest way for your baby to sit up and enjoy the world around her. Looking for some bounce? Get one with springs in the support posts, or a springy pad for a baby's feet. For another way to get baby dancing, if not bouncing, check out a model with a keyboard (or other instrument) or a microphone.
Stationary activity jumpers
Stationary activity jumpers are a hybrid. They consist of a seat surrounded by toys, but they put more "boing!" in your baby's bounce by suspending the seat from two to four enclosed springs.
Some models have dozens of "fun learning activities" built in.
These are models with a seat suspended from straps connected to a bungee-like cable or spring that attaches to the top of a door frame with a spring-loaded clamp or a stand to replace the door clamp.
Some doorway jumpers feature a fabric seat with a built-in frame that surrounds a child. Others have a play tray that encircles the baby, with rubberized sides that act as bumpers. These bumpers might prevent nicks to your door frame, but we don't think they offer much protection to your baby, who can extend his head or arm beyond the tray.
Again, regardless of the seat design or whether the jumper is attached to a door frame or a stand, we urge you not to buy one that is suspended overhead. Your baby could be propelled into the door frame or stand either because of vigorous jumping or because someone tries to swing him. Doorway jumpers have been recalled because the plastic clamp that attaches the seat to a door frame has broken, causing babies to fall. There have also been recalls because clamps detached from the cord. The risks to your baby's safety are simply too high.
We think using a stationary model with side cables attached to a sturdy stand is much safer than hanging a free-swinging jumper from a doorway or stand. This configuration eliminates the potential hazard of a doorway jumper clamp slipping off the door frame. Stationary activity jumpers typically accommodate babies up to 25 pounds and 30 to 32 inches, depending on the model. And, of course, a stationary activity center with springs in the support posts is the safest way to add some bounce to your baby's fun.