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Once your baby starts to take notice of her surroundings (and you decide you’d like five minutes to take a shower!), you’ll find yourself considering some entertainment for her. Bouncer seats and activity gyms are options parents often consider. These products are typically more interactive than swings with toy bars and mats to stimulate your baby’s brain or vibration and music to calm her. Here are our recommendations for the best of bouncer seats, activity gyms and toy bars.


An activity seat (also called a bouncer) provides a comfy place for baby to hang out while you eat dinner, and the toy bar adds some mild amusement. The latest twist to these products is a “Magic Fingers” vibration feature—the bouncer basically vibrates, simulating a car ride. Parents who have these bouncers tell us they’d rather have a kidney removed than give up their vibrating bouncer, as it appears the last line of defense in soothing a fussy baby, short of checking into a mental institution.

What features should you look for in a bouncer? Readers say a carrying handle is a big plus. Also: get a neutral fabric pattern, says another parent, since you’ll probably be taking lots of photos of baby and a garish pattern may grate on your nerves.

Parent feedback on that model is very positive.

Toy Bars

Remember, your baby is safer in an infant car seat carrier than in other activity seats, thanks to that industrial-strength harness safety system.

Safety warning: only use these toy bars when the car seat is NOT inside a vehicle (that is, at home, etc.). Toy bars are not safe in a vehicle as they can be a hazard/projectile in an accident.

Click on the Recommended tab above to read reviews of our top picks.

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.