Not so long ago, baby swings were just that: swings.
And that’s all they did, move the little tot back to keep him or her occupied or to induce sleep.
At first, parents had to actually push the thing to make the swinging motion.
Then, some early versions actually had to be wound up by hand, sort of like an old-fashioned alarm clock.
But ingenious designers and markers figured out (as they so often do) that parents might want more – and that they would be willing to pay for any number of features, miscellaneous add-ons and bonuses.
Fast-forward to today, and any online baby-supply site is choc-a-block brimming with baby seats, swings, rockers, vibrators and various configurations thereof, each claiming to offer something more or better than the one being sold by the company in the picture next to it.
But, truth be told, those promises are much more than just advertising fluff laid out there to extract more money from mommy and daddy’s wallets.
That’s because today’s mechanical baby gear (for the most part) absolutely offers high-quality, durable products that brim with useful features. The best models also allow for multiple uses, which serves to suit the preferences of a wider variety of babies and, ideally, prevents having to purchase more than one device. The Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker is no exception and it’s a winner.
Choose Your Option
“Duet” in the name refers to the fact that this product is essentially two for the price of one: It’s a baby swing as well as a rocker – the easily removable swing seat does double duty as a rocker. This item offers three seating positions which means that baby can be swayed either from front to back or from side to side.
The rocker has a convenient carrying handle so the little one can be carted around with ease. There are six swing/rocking speeds.
Does your little guy or girl prefer a little gentle vibration? It’s here, and adjustable at two different speeds.
There’s a three-position recline, with an angle that ranges from 40 to 47 degrees. This is quite important, because it allows different size babies to be as comfortable as possible. Comfort leads to sleep.
The swing itself is among the most attractive on the market. Making the transition from one use to another is a cinch. Assembly is a breeze and all controls are exceptionally easy to read and access.
A Little Bit Portable
Don’t expect this entry to be “portable” in the sense that, like some others, it can be folded up flat or near-flat and easily stowed away in the trunk of the car or behind the sofa. This one is going to occupy a more-or-less permanent space in your home which shouldn’t necessarily be a problem for a lot of folks. However, since it’s fairly lightweight and separates into two pieces, it’s not all that hard to move from one place to another. The base itself can easily be carried with one hand.
You’ve Got the Power
Many swings among the competition limit the user to strictly batteries or AC power only. This one provides flexibility. You can either plug it in or go with five “D” cell batteries (that’s four for the swing and one for the vibrating feature). A lot of parents will appreciate such versatility; all-battery units tend to be quite expensive to operate, especially if they’re used often.
Strapping a baby into a swing is usually done with either a three-point or five-point harness. While three-pointers aren’t necessarily unsafe, five points is better, because it provides more support for the baby’s upper torso. This unit uses a five-point harness, so it gets a few extra bonus points for that.
Music, Music, Music
Sometimes just swinging or rocking isn’t enough to quiet a baby. The best modern swings include some type of aural “entertainment,” and this one is no exception. The unit plays a collection of 10 “classic” melodies and five “nature sounds.” Just run through the menu of selections until you find the ones that appeal to baby the most.
The volume of the sound effects is adjustable, but, unfortunately, there’s no timer mechanism included.
Facts and Figures
The unit is made in China. It weighs 21 pounds, and it measures 33 x 34 x 43 inches.
It is recommended for use by infants weighing from a minimum of 5½ pounds to a maximum of 30 pounds.
The product is warranted for a period of one year.
It is certified to be free of phthalate, latex, lead, and BPA.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is important because, after all, your precious baby’s bottom will be parked in this contraption. And we recommend it wholeheartedly.
Simply put, it looks good, it feels good, and it works well. Its frame, while sufficiently light, is made of metal, which should be reassuring to a lot of potential buyers.
It offers a whole host of features found on the best of the competition.
But there’s more to think about – for many parents, the manufacturer here is an important consideration, perhaps even the most important. Graco has been in this business a long, long time, and perhaps mom or dad (or even both) were swung, rocked and vibrated in a Graco swing. It’s a trusted name in this game, and most deservedly so.