Are Baby Loungers Safe?

An illustration with a person supervising a child in a baby lounger on the floor

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

Babies are a lot of work, and having a safe place to put them down during the day can make a world of difference. If you want to chop vegetables, fold laundry, or just take a break from constantly holding your newborn, a baby lounger can be just what you need.

But you may be worried about whether baby loungers are safe for infants. The answer is both yes and no. While it's completely fine to let your baby relax in the cushiony nest of a baby lounger while you are with them, you don't want to use them for sleep.

If you are using a baby lounger, you'll want to take a few precautions to ensure you use them with your baby's safety in mind. Here's what you need to know about baby loungers.

UPDATE November 11, 2022

On November 11, 2022, the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) issued a warning about the "DockATot Deluxe Plus Dock" lounger for not complying with the June 23 Infant Sleep Product Rule. This rule made it "unlawful to sell non-compliant infant sleep products manufactured on or after [June 23, 2022]," according to the CPSC. The rule ultimately aims to protect babies from suffocating in unsafe sleeping loungers, particularly those that are marketed to parents as a safe place to lay baby down. DockATot's most recent release, the "Deluxe Plus Dock," was manufactured and imported after the June 23 deadline, and still does not meet the standards laid out by the CPSC—hence, the warning. If you have or are currently using one of these products, it is probably wise to stop using it and remove it from your home.

What Is a Baby Lounger?

A baby lounger is a cushion or nest that hugs and supports your baby. These devices can soothe and relax your baby while allowing you to multitask or just take a break. You also can position a play gym over the lounger to stimulate your infant's visual exploration.

"Baby loungers can be used for floor time play, for nursing, or for tummy time...but they must only be used supervised," says pediatrician Elham Raker, MD.

Dangers of Baby Loungers

Baby loungers are safe to use as long as the infant is closely supervised and remains awake. The lounger also should be placed on the floor, rather than on a bed or table, advises Alisa Baer, MD, a pediatrician and member of the Verywell Family Medical Review Board.

A baby lounger also should not be used inside cribs, bassinets, or for co-sleeping. Rolling over, falling asleep, or even tumbling to the floor are the primary hazards when it comes to baby loungers.

Elham Raker, MD

The baby can fall off or can suffocate [in a baby lounger] if doing tummy time unsupervised.

— Elham Raker, MD

If an infant rolls onto their stomach, they may be unable to roll back so that they are face up. Also, a child who can roll over on the floor is not necessarily a child who can roll over while in a pillow lounger or rocking device that has side walls. These side walls make it very hard to roll from belly to back. Lacking sufficient neck strength while trapped face down on a soft surface also can put them at risk for suffocation.

Because it's impossible to predict when your baby will roll for the first time, keeping a close eye on them while using a lounger is imperative.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines, an infant's sleep surface must be firm and free of soft objects or bedding. Because a baby lounger is really just a big, soft object, it does not meet the safe sleep requirements and should never be used for sleep, explains certified pediatric sleep consultant, Heather Wallace.

"The safest place for a baby to sleep is alone in a crib without any pillows or blankets," says Dr. Raker.

What if Your Baby Falls Asleep in a Lounger?

One of the key benefits of baby loungers is the fact that they calm and comfort little ones. But they also can lull your baby to sleep, especially because newborns are often ready to doze off.

During the first few months of life, newborns need 16 to 17 hours of sleep per day. But loungers should not be used to reach this goal.

If your baby falls asleep in a lounger, Dr. Raker says you should take them out and move them to a firm sleep surface like a crib or bassinet. Even though it's tempting to "not wake a sleeping baby," this is an instance where you need to move your baby for their safety.

Keep in mind, loungers are a little too conducive for sleep sometimes, and falling into a deep slumber may seem to occur so easily in a lounger and yet feel so elusive in a crib. This is normal because babies like to be snuggled and a baby lounger provides that sensation.

If your baby is struggling with sleep, resist the urge to use a baby lounger to get them to sleep.

How to Use a Baby Lounger Safely

To use your baby lounger safely make sure you supervise your child. This means that you need to be with your baby at all times while they're in the lounger. Even going to the bathroom can put your baby at risk, as babies can suffocate in as little as a few minutes.

You also want to make sure you're alert when you put your baby down. If you're feeling the effects of sleep deprivation and there is a chance of you falling asleep, you should put your baby in a crib, bassinet, or play yard instead.

One way to make sure you are keeping an eye on your baby is to play peekaboo, read a board book, swing a mobile, or guide your baby through a tummy time session.

You also can simply narrate your life to your baby, talking through whatever it is that you are doing—like folding laundry or chopping vegetables. Make eye contact with your baby and ensure that they are safe. The key is that you keep your baby in your line of vision at all times.

Finding the Right Baby Lounger

When selecting a baby lounger, consider which types will best meet your family's needs and budget. Wallace prefers loungers with an incline over the flat types for infants. She says that the inclined support provides babies with more comfort and a new visual perspective, while the flat ones don't provide enough of a novelty.

Some families may prefer natural or organic materials, while others want to go for the best low-budget option. Keep in mind that natural, breathable fabrics can help avoid overheating. There are even waterproof baby loungers if avoiding messes is your priority.

A Word From Verywell

Baby loungers are a great accessory that many parents find useful during the first few months of their baby's life. They provide you with a soft place to put your baby down while they're awake and can be particularly handy if you're recovering from a c-section. You can put your baby in a lounger and still interact with them by reading books to them or playing peek-a-boo.

If you're considering purchasing a baby lounger for your baby, make sure you know what's involved with using them safely. And, resist the urge to use loungers as a sleep aid. You should always practice safe sleep practices with your little one.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe sleep recommendations.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Sleep.

Additional Reading

By Elisa Cinelli
Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR and Scary Mommy, among others.