Parents, especially new ones, are so often mobile. Whether it’s shopping jaunts, trips to grandma and grandpa’s, appointments with the pediatrician or a simple visit to the park, there seems to be a constant need to be “on the go.”
And that’s where portable baby swings come in. Unlike larger-size swings that are more or less designed to stay anchored in one place, portable models not only entertain the baby or lull him or her to sleep, they’re also easy to fold and pack up for transit or storage. In addition, portable models are frequently less expensive than their full-size counterparts. This is, of course, an important consideration for most parents.
As with all baby swings, some do more than others, offering features and frills that you may or may not actually need or use. Before even considering, for instance, the number of tunes the swing plays or the number of toys hovering over the baby’s head, look at the basics. Is it simple to put together? Does the construction feel solid and durable? Is the coverlet safe to wash in the machine? And the big question: Is it easy to pack up and move?
We’re reviewed five top portable swings from major manufacturers. All of them have their strengths, but some offer more than others. Even through we’ve selected the “best” of the five, all can be considered a sensible, safe and effective choice.
Comfort & Harmony Cozy Kingdom Portable Swing
This bright, colorful portable features plush fabrics with a cheery jungle theme. Both the seat pad and head support (removable) are washable. The seat can be adjusted to recline in two positions, and the swing itself has six speeds featuring technology that keeps speeds consistent as the baby grows and gains weight.
It plays a selection of six melodies. The volume is adjustable and the tunes can even be shut off with a timer – a very appealing and useful feature, in our judgment. There’s a foam toy bar with a pair of plush toys, and it is designed to easily pivot when getting the baby in and out of the swing.
The swing has the quietest motor that we’ve experienced in our tests.
And, perhaps important because we’re talking about portables, this product it is quite a simple task to fold up. It can nearly be accomplished with one hand.
It weighs in at a scant 7 pounds and measures 34 x 28 x 24 inches. It is powered by four “C” cell batteries. The manufacturer estimates battery life at a quite reasonable three hours.
The swing is designed to safely and comfortably accommodate babies weighing up to 20 pounds.
All in all, this swing comes across as sturdy and comfortable, offering what is essentially a full array of features at an attractive price. More importantly, it is indeed very portable. We lugged it to and fro without the slightest hint of a strain.
Fisher-Price Deluxe Take Along Swing and Seat
Fisher-price has been in the baby products business since way back in 1930, and the company has a reputation for high-quality, cost-effective products. This swing is no exception.
Space-saving but full-featured, it both swings and has a vibrating seat. There are six speeds for the swing, and, like the Comfort & Harmony, the unit senses the baby’s weight and keeps the speed steady. It’s simple to convert the swing into a calming, vibrating seat (with two vibration speeds). It starts easily – no need to give it a push.
There are two bird toys overhead, 10 melodies and nature sounds, and a soft, removable insert for newborns. The seat pad is machine-washable and dryer-safe. The swing features a five-point restraint and non-skid feet.
The swing safely accommodates babies weighing up to 25 pounds. It is powered by four “C” cell batteries. Before folding flat, its dimensions are 20 x 20 x 6.5 inches.
This easy-to-assemble product did everything as advertised, and did it very well. It folded quite flat, and the overhead handle made it especially easy to pick up and carry. If easy everything is a high priority for you, you’re bound to love this one.
Fisher-Price Space Saver Swing and Seat
This additional entry from the venerable Fisher-Price is a worthy contender and can probably be picked up at a bargain price.
It combines a five-speed swing with a stationary, vibrating seat (they can be used together or independently). There’s also an array of 10 tunes and sounds (volume is adjustable) and a removable toy bar. The seat pad is machine-washable and dryer-safe.
While the unit doesn’t actually fold, parts are removable, and it is light and small enough to carry around, although stowing it in the trunk of the car might be dicey. This could be a deal-breaker for some shoppers. Another con is that it doesn’t come with extra support for newborns.
The swing weighs 8.8 pounds and measures 20.5 x 19.8 x 7.1 inches. It requires 4 “C” battery.
Like the above Fisher-Price, the swing has a five-point harness and non-skid feet. It is recommended for infants weighing up to 25 pounds.
The swing is well-made and our test baby seemed quite comfortable in it. All features worked properly, and it’s one to be considered unless a swing that doesn’t fold up just isn’t acceptable.
Bright Starts Portable Swing
When it comes to baby swings, portability can be a deal breaker, often the most critical factor when making a selection. There are, of course, other issues – features, safety, and build quality, to name a few – but the ability to easily move the swing around the house and fold and pack it up for road trips can be an extremely important consideration.
Venerable baby-products maker Bright Starts has come through in the regard in a big way with this model, which boasts the comfort and features of a full-size swing in a truly portable size that quickly and easily folds right up.
This swing (very pretty in pink, incidentally) is packed with an unusual amount features in its price range. The maker’s TrueSpeed technology keeps each of the swing’s six speeds consistent as the baby’s weight increases. The seat reclines in two positions, and there’s a cute, removable toy bar with a pair of toys to keep baby interested and occupied. Moms will like the fact that the seat pad is machine-washable.
An important bonus is the five-point safety harness, which is generally regarded as being safer and more supportive than the three-point style.
If there’s a downside, it’s that no AC adaptor is included. It runs solely on four “C” type batteries, although Bright Starts estimates battery life at an impressive (but perhaps overoptimistic) 20 hours.
The swing weighs 9.2 pounds, and its dimensions are 22 x 14.2 x 5.2 inches. It is recommended to safely accommodate babies and infants weighing from 6 to 20 pounds.
All in all, if comfort, safety, and portability are important factors for you and your child, and if you can live without the usual music and sounds effects, this is definitely a swing to add to your short list.
Ingenuity Convertme Swing-2-Seat
This extremely attractive and value-packed product will be hard to resist for budget-conscious parents. It basically offers two seats for the price of one, quickly and easily changing from portable swing to standalone, vibrating seat. But the low price alone doesn’t nearly tell the story – it is laden with features normally found only on more expensive swings.
It offers five different speeds with a timer for 30, 45 and 60 minutes. Features also include weight-sensing to keep speeds consistent as the baby grows in size. The swing conveniently folds completely flat.
The task of switching the unit from a swing to a smooth and gentle vibrating seat is a simple one. And it quickly and simply folds flat for storage and transportation.
While on board, baby can be soothed by eight melodies and three nature sounds. He or she can play with a pivoting toy bar with a pair of plushy toys (there are also loops to attach more).
The swing operates on four “D” size batteries, and the vibrating seat requires one “C” battery. Ingenuity claims that its “hybridrive” technology permits batteries to last three times longer than usual. In fact, the company claims that the batteries will last an impressive 24 hours.
The unit assembles fairly easily and has a safety-conscious, five-point harness with non-slip feet, important safety features to look for on baby gear regardless of price.
The seat pad and head support can be safely washed in the machine.
The swing measures 22 x 23.5 x 23 inches and is recommended for infants weighing up to 20 pounds.
As mentioned at the outset, all five of these offerings offer plenty of strong points. It’s hard to imagine a single swing that would be pleasing to everyone. But the Graco Swing By Me 2-In-1 appears to offer the most, and at a very attractive, cost-effective price. It’s hard to imagine a swing being more versatile, because this one cleverly offers the best of both worlds – home and on the go. Since this article is about portable swings, Graco – a name parents justifiably tend to trust – hit a home run when it comes to portability.
When all is said and done, there’s absolutely no need to sacrifice quality when it comes to swings merely because you might live in a dwelling with limited space or you seem to be constantly on the road. Do your homework, and you’ll find that the swing with everything you need is available.