Baby products that experts say you should avoid

Baby products that experts say you should avoid

BabyCenter selects products based on the research of our editors and the wisdom of parents in the BabyCenter Community. All prices and details are accurate at the time of publication. We may earn a commission from shopping links.

When you’re a busy parent, it can be tough (actually, make that impossible) to do extensive research on every single thing you buy for your child. But just because a product is popular doesn’t mean it’s helpful for your baby’s health and development.

As the expert hosts from BabyCenter CoursesOpens a new window explain, there are certain baby and toddler items out there that you’ll want to avoid – even if other parents swear by them.

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Steer clear of the following products, as they can pose safety concerns or hinder your baby’s development.

And for more great advice from top pediatric experts, check out The Ultimate Baby Prep CourseOpens a new window, which contains helpful info from pros in the fields of infant safetyOpens a new window, baby sleepOpens a new window, and physical developmentOpens a new window.

1. Activity walkers

Activity walkers are devices in which your baby is surrounded on all sides by the walker, their feet touch the ground, and the walker has wheels. They allow your child to play and “walk” before they have actually mastered this skill on their own. But these walkers often lead to accidents in which babies fall down stairs or tip over, explains Michelle Tiflinsky, a pediatric occupational therapist and the host of BabyCenter’s Meeting Physical Milestones Through Play courseOpens a new window.

So for your baby’s safety, it’s important to avoid activity walkers. (Sit-to-stand walkers are okay, so long as you let your baby pull up and walk on their own with them.)

For play ideas from Tiflinsky that help promote healthy developmental, check out Meeting Physical Milestones Through PlayOpens a new window.

2. Crib bumpers

Crib bumpers used to be incredibly popular, as the padding that goes on the crib rails was seen as a way to protect baby’s head during sleep. But in Baby Sleep 101Opens a new window, pediatric sleep doctor Olufunke Afolabi-Brown, M.D., explains that padded crib bumpers are now banned by the American Academy of PediatricsOpens a new window (AAP) because they increase a baby’s risk of suffocation. What’s more, babies don’t generally injure themselves even if they do bump into the crib bars.

Check out Baby Sleep 101Opens a new window for more expert advice on how to help your baby sleep safely (and for longer stretches of time).

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3. Floaties

Floaties are incredibly common at the beach or pool. While the AAPOpens a new window says that U.S. Coast Guard–approved puddle jumpers can be helpful to keep children afloat, it warns against using inflatable arm floats. Why? They can easily deflate or slip off.

What’s more, both floaties and puddle jumpers can give parents a false sense of security, warns pediatric ER doctor C. Anthoney Lim, M.D., M.S., host of BabyCenter’s All-in-One Baby Safety with CPR courseOpens a new window. Children need to be closely supervised at all times when in or around water. That’s why Dr. Lim advises parents to avoid floaties altogether – and suggests that they stay vigilant about keeping a close eye on children even if they decide to use puddle jumpers.

For more great safety advice from Dr. Lim, including what you should look for in a floatation device for infants or toddlers, check out our All-in-One Baby Safety with CPR courseOpens a new window.

4. Infant loungers

Infant loungers are essentially large pillows that are a designated space to put your newborn down if you need to, say, make lunch or use the restroom. But as Dr. Brown explains in BabyCenter’s Baby Sleep 101 courseOpens a new window, they’re dangerous for sleep, as they pose a suffocation risk. Since newborns fall asleep all the time, there’s really not a safe way to use infant loungers – which is likely why so many infant loungers have been recalled or cited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as being dangerous.

5. Bouncers

As Tiflinsky explains in Meeting Physical Milestones Through PlayOpens a new window, bouncers fall into a category of products called “containers.” These are devices meant to hold your baby so you don’t have to. While this might sound helpful in theory, it’s bad for your child to spend too much time in containers, as it restricts their ability to practice essential skills like lifting up their head, rolling over, and more.

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What’s more, putting your baby in a position that they can’t achieve on their own – in this case, standing on their feet before they have learned to bear weight on them independently – can hinder development, leading to problems like toe walking. (The exception to this is newborn bouncers, which are designed to be developmentally appropriate for newborns.)

In Meeting Physical Milestones Through PlayOpens a new window, Tiflinsky recommends either avoiding bouncers altogether or waiting until your baby can put weight on their feet on their own (usually around 9 or 10 months old). And if you want a better option for putting your baby down for a couple of minutes, consider using a crib or play yard.

All of this expert advice came from The Ultimate Baby Prep CourseOpens a new window, which offers the three classes from BabyCenter Courses for just $99. That’s 40 percent off of the normal price for buying the courses – baby safety with CPROpens a new window, infant sleepOpens a new window, and physical development in your baby’s first yearOpens a new window.

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