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As you baby becomes more mobile, it’s time to consider activity centers and mats! Here are our top picks for activity centers/mats—plus safety advice and comments on doorway jumpers and walkers.



Activity Centers

We know, you'd just like 15 minutes to take a shower . . . or make a sandwich . . . or whatever. Those activity centers (Exersaucer is the most common brand) look like a good option. They rock and spin plus they have tons of toys to play with. Unlike activity gyms or bouncer, your baby will be sitting up in the seat with feet contacting the bottom of the center. This allows for bouncing and spinning.

Activity centers do seem like the answer to parents' prayers, but we  have a few caveats. Your child shouldn't sit in an activity center more than 15 minutes at a time and one hour a day total. Why? The seat on these centers can cause hip issues when overused. So remember–this is a limited solution. Enough time to wash your hair or the dog, not enough to watch an episode of Downton Abbey.


Doorway Jumpers and Walkers

We don't recommend using either doorway mounted jumpers or walkers. Both these items are extremely dangerous, in our opinion. Both these items accounted for 3,300 injuries requiring hospitalization from 2009 to 2011. Our best advice: stay away from walkers–stick with bouncers activity gyms and activity centers.

See the Recommend tab above for our favorite activity centers.

BB Rating
What's This?


A EXCELLENT-our top pick!
B GOOD-above average quality, prices, and creativity.
C FAIR-could stand some improvement.
D POOR-yuck! Could stand some major improvement.