If you think back to some of your earliest, fondest memories, chances are that there is going to be some swinging in there somewhere. Whether it is whirling around on a tire suspended from a tree, or enjoying a gentle push in a playground bucket seat, swing sets are an integral part of any childhood.
It seems that once a baby is old enough to hold their head up, they’re ready to swing. Perhaps this is why toddler swings have become one of the most popular gift ideas for young parents in recent years. Whatever the cause, there is no doubt that your own toddler will enjoy a bit of the old back and forth. In fact, a lot of research has shown that swinging stimulates the vestibular system, which is a critical part of a child’s ongoing development of movement and balance.
We’ve poured through the competition to bring you a narrowed-down list of the 7 best toddler swings, all in an effort to give you, the consumer, a better idea of how to choose a swing for your own child.
It is no secret that ecologically conscious toys are making some real headway in the market, quickly becoming some of the most popular gifts that you can get. Whether it is sustainably harvested wood or natural fiber ropes, products that are made from Eco-Friendly materials are both safer for the child and the planet. The toy-makers at Ecotribe have made this their calling card, and the Wooden Unicorn Swing Set is a great illustration of what they’re all about.
First off, you aren’t ever going to go wrong by giving a kid a unicorn. This fantastic creature has captured the imaginations and hearts of children across the globe by being cute, friendly, and non-confrontational by all means. This unicorn is quite simple indeed … little more than a flat unicorn head at the front of the bucket. Still, it is fantastic enough to keep your toddler’s attention, and makes for a great photo opportunity!
The Ecotribe Unicorn Swing is one of the most fully-enveloping swings that we looked at … offering a very secure place for your toddler to sit without sacrificing too much in terms of comfort or wiggle room. There is some assembly required here, but the overall setup is remarkably simple so you can have your little one swinging up a storm in a matter of minutes.
The natural wood has no additives or finishes, so it is important to remember that it will not last long against the weather … best to keep this swing inside for the most part.
What We Like: 100% Eco-friendly materials including chemical-free wood and natural cotton rope
What We Don’t: Without additional treatment, the wood will dry out and splinter if left outdoors
Eastern Jungle Gym is not your average toy company, nor are they just any ordinary outdoor equipment provider. In fact, they are one of the most comprehensive and full-serviced playground companies in the United States. For over 25 years they’ve been perfecting the design and performance of all sorts of playground classics, from rubber tire swings to DIY swing bracket sets and delightful play set accessories.
This High Back Bucket Swing for toddlers is one of their most durable items, and it is safe to say that it was designed to be left outdoors. This is in contrast to some of the wooden buckets that won’t stand up all that well to moisture. We can credit this to the co-polymer plastic construction, which by the looks of it is going to outlast all of us.
The included chains are coated in a soft and vibrant yellow plastisol. This lends a soft and pinch-free grip for your toddler while preventing the metal chains from ever becoming too hot in the sun.
While the high-back seat is clearly one of their most advertised selling points, it is by no means an indicator of how this bucket seat must be used. Your toddler can actually go in quite comfortably in either direction, so the higher side is either at their back or front. There are leg holes on both sides, so it is going to be pretty much the same experience either way.
What We Like: Smartly designed and fully assembled bucket swing for any existing swing frame
What We Don’t: Eastern Jungle Gym chains are slightly smaller than average swing links, meaning that this swing might not be compatible with some pre-existing swing hooks
It is going to be a long time before your toddler is old enough to get behind the wheel of a real car, but there’s no reason that they can’t experience the exhilarating thrill of a speedster swing built just for them. The folks over at Little Tikes have really nailed it with their Toy Coupe First Swing, one of the cutest and most entertaining swings for toddlers.
Firstly, not every swing is going to be shaped like a car, much less a car with an adorable cartoon face. Your child is going to want to go cruising in this thing any time they get the chance, and you parents are not likely to stand in their way. That’s because there is also a moving steering wheel with a real, sound-making horn. This turns swinging from a passive activity into a high-energy activity that will only make nap-time that much more peaceful for everyone involved.
Simple yellow rope is utilized here instead of metal chains, which is probably a good thing considering the target age group. The rope is strong and weather resistant, but we wouldn’t recommend leaving it outside for extended periods of time, as it will start to deteriorate over the seasons. In particular, the bright red color will fade quickly in the bright sunlight, so it doesn’t hurt to store this one inside somewhere.
Some rope adjustment is needed every now and then to keep it swinging straight, but for the price we aren’t all that concerned about it.
What We Like: A bright and cartoonish car-shaped swing with a working horn
What We Don’t: Ropes need to be adjusted every now and then to keep it swinging straight
Just add this to the growing list of toys that we can honestly say that we wish we had when we were young. The Giant Flying Saucer Tree Swing is one of the most unique items on our list, and we have a feeling that it is also going to be one of the most popular holiday gift items for that very reason.
The basic concept is something like a tire swing, except that there are four points of contact between the rope and the chair as opposed to the three points that you normally find in a tire swing. There is also a more traditional 2-loop hooking system at the top of the ropes, meaning that you can attach the Flying Saucer to any standard swing setup. Even if there are no existing swing hooks, a simple (but sold separately) hanging strap kit can have your kid flying around from the branch of a tree just as easily.
A set of colorful and attractive pennant style flags adorn the hanging ropes, but these are made of a far less durable material than the rest of the swing and likely won’t last more than a few weeks if left outdoors. But that is of little concern when you realize that the rest of the swing, from the metal hoop frame to the densely-woven polyester fabric, is going to stand up to the elements just fine.
What We Like: A unique design that is sure to be a hit for backyards and birthday parties
What We Don’t: The included flags are probably not going to last that long, but they are hardly necessary to enjoy the swing itself.
It looks like the most affordable swing on our list is also one of the most versatile, providing new parents with a swing that their child isn’t simply going to outgrow within a couple of months. That’s because the 2-in-1 Snug ‘n Secure swing from Little Tikes is designed specifically to be suitable for everything from babies to toddlers, without having to compromise on safety or comfort.
The molded plastic bucket seat is roomy and comfortable. Babies will sink right into it, held securely in place by the adjustable plastic t-bar and stay-put shoulder straps. When your child gets older, the t-bar can be either adjusted or removed entirely and stored elsewhere, creating even more room within the bucket seat for your ever-growing little one.
The only design flaw that we could spot was a curious tendency by the ropes to become unevenly aligned, which leads to the swing being somewhat crooked most of the time. The ropes are not that easy to adjust, so trying to fix the crookedness every time becomes something of an annoyance. The ropes are also a little short, so if you are going to be using this swing with an existing frame, you are likely going to need some extension chains or ropes.
What We Like: A very affordable and versatile swing that is great for new parents
What We Don’t: The ropes can be difficult to adjust
Also from Little Tikes, the High Back Toddler Swing is just as affordable and durable as the Grow With Me Swing, but features a full wrap-around seat that is more secure, more roomy, and more comfortable that just about any other starting swing that you can get for less than thirty bucks. The leg openings are equally roomy, which makes it really easy to slide your toddler into the seat without any fuss.
What we really like about this type of high back swing is that it is significantly safer that some of the buckle type swings that we have looked at before. This isn’t the kind of swing that it going to tip forward if you push your child a little too hard, and that is a comforting thought.
Once again we are wondering why Little Tikes couldn’t make the ropes a little longer, as they are simply too short to use with your average height (8’) swing set frame. Otherwise, your child’s swing will be too far up from the ground and could very well go above the recommended fall height limit, which is 7’.
This swing suffers from the same hard-to-adjust ropes that the Grow With Me swing does, but once you get them in place it really isn’t that big of an issue.
What We Like: Full wrap-around bucket seat is safe and roomy
What We Don’t: The ropes are too short … extensions will be needed in some cases
In what is hands down the most comfortable toddler swing in its class, the Happy Pie Play & Adventure Canvas Swing offers a level of cushion and soft-to-the-touch canvas material that you simply aren’t going to find anywhere else. The cushion itself is fully detachable, which not only can provide more room for the growing toddler but also makes it much easier to clean in the case of an unfortunate toddler mishap.
The crossbars are made from high quality sanded wood, which are both strong enough to keep your kid safe and soft enough to prevent splinters and cracking. The canvas itself comes in four different color patterns, which is something that no other swing on our list can offer. This is going to be a big ‘plus’ for the style-conscious parent who wants to match this swing to a particular room.
There is some assembly required out of the box, but not enough for most parents to notice. All it takes is a few screws through some pre-drilled holes and the bucket seat is ready to go. After that, simply attach the ropes with the included metal rings to your existing swing setup, or use a 3rd party strap hang kit to attach it to a big branch.
The only drawback to the canvas construction is that it is at greater risk of mildew than a molded plastic seat. This means that if left outside in damp climates, some mildew and even mold can occur in time. Best practice is to simply bring the swing inside when not in use.
What We Like: Canvas bucket seat is softer and more comfortable than molded plastic
What We Don’t: Canvas is more susceptible to mildew when left outside for extended periods of time
Deep Dive: How To Choose The Best Toddler Swings (2020 Buyer’s Guide)
Swings don’t seem all that complicated at first glance. It’s really just a seat and some chains, isn’t it?
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all kids’ swings are built the same. Not only are there a staggering amount of different designs and manufacturers, but new-age materials like natural wood and woven canvas have added to the already diverse cast of swings that are already on the market.
Next up: a deep dive into criteria that we used to compile our review, as well as answers to a few of the most common questions regarding toddler swings.
Recommended Weight / Age Limits
When it comes to swings, the real age limit boils down to size and weight. There really isn’t much more to it than that. As long as a kid is old enough to hold their own head up, they are likely ready for a swing of their own.
However, every swing is sized differently, and in addition each one has its own unique weight limit. While a swing that is too small might only be a bit uncomfortable for a growing kid, a swing that does not have an adequate weight limit for your own child can be hazardous.
For this reason, our team strongly recommends that you pay attention to the advertised weight limits for whatever swing you are considering purchasing.
Unlike regular playground swings, toddler swings need to be shaped like a bucket in order to keep the toddler in the safely in place. Until they are old enough to support themselves with their arms, the toddler will need to be at least partially enveloped by the seat itself, which is why the bucket-shaped seat has become the standard design.
There are however some variations to this design. Some swings for instance feature adjustable shoulder and waist straps, which provide even more security and safety. Others simply utilize deep bucket shapes that are tall enough to ensure that the toddler isn’t going anywhere, even if they’re being gently pushed.
Hanging Method: Ropes vs. Chains
If you were to make the call with strictly the information present on this review, then you would likely assume that nylon rope is a more common material for hanging swings than linked chains. While chains are stronger and more long-lasting, nylon rope is more than adequate for the reduced load limits of toddlers, and in many cases even older kids.
The truth is that it is pretty evenly split between rope and chain-based hanging systems, and in the end it comes down to personal preference. If you are thinking about going with a chain-based swing, then make sure that you get the kind with the soft plastic coating, as it prevents painful skin pinching that can occur with linked chain.
The ropes or chains that come with your new swing are going to vary in length between 3 feet and 6 feet, though there are both shorter and longer models out there for more specialized hanging conditions.
No matter where you decide to hand your toddler’s new swing, it is important that you make sure that it is at a height that is safe for the child. This is not only referring to the resting height above the ground, but the maximum height that the swing (and therefore your toddler) will reach while swinging. This is called the ‘fall height’, and shorter ropes can sometimes lead to dangerous fall heights.
Construction Materials: Wood, Plastic, & Canvas
The toddler swings on our list are a good representative spread of what kind of construction materials are available. Generally speaking, it comes down to Wood, Plastic, & Canvas.
Wood is a popular material for swings because it is both strong and lightweight, and at the same time lacks many of the chemicals and synthetic materials that have made some products dangerous for children in the past. Wood is also more sustainable, as opposed to the oil-based plastics that are used for many swings. When wood is used in a toddler swing, it is usually in the frame. However, products like the Ecotribe Wooden Unicorn Swing are constructed entirely out of wood.
Plastic and plastic-based materials are perhaps the most common materials that is used in the making of swings for young kids. It is cheap to make and surprisingly durable, if not a bit less sustainable than wood. Plastic for swings can either be pliable or firm, but it is usually quite resistant to breaking . Out of the three materials we have here, plastic is the hardest surface, which in some cases might mean a less comfortable swinging experience.
Canvas or other fabric materials are becoming more and more popular for children’s toys, and swings are no exception. Both softer and lighter than wood or plastic, canvas also has the unique property of being machine washable and significantly more collapsible.
When it comes to swings, the most important thing is to get one that is safe, and perhaps even certified by the CPSC or another product safety organization.
Here are a few more tips to make sure that your toddler has a safe swinging experience:
1.) Inspect the Swing – Keep a close eye on the condition that both the seat and the ropes are in.
2.) Follow the Recommended Weight Limits – We can’t stress this one enough! Overloading your swing’s weight limit can lead to injury
3.) Consider a Swing With a Safety Harness – Many toddler swings have a built in safety harness that is designed specifically to keep your child firmly in place. For younger toddlers who can’t grip the ropes themselves, this type of harness is actually more of a necessity.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)
Q: Do These Swings For Toddlers Come With Hanging Hardware?
A: This depends largely on which model you get. Generally speaking each swing kit includes the seat, the ropes or chains, and at least some simple S-hooks or O-hooks at the top. These are meant to be attached to pre-existing swing hooks, which are usually loop-shaped protrusions from the swing frame.
But as the old saying goes (probably) there’s more than one way to hang a swing. Even if you don’t have a specialized swing frame, it can be possible to hand your new toddler swing from a branch or indoor-mounted hooks.
Q: Can You Hang A Toddler Swing Indoors?
A: Absolutely! Toddler swings are great for the playroom or living room, and with the quick addition of a few hooks around the house, you can easily create a system of swing-spots so your toddler can go where you do and not leave the swing behind. By simply installing self-drilling eye-hooks into the studs, it is possible to create a safe and secure place to attach the swing ropes to.
Q: What Is The Safest Type Of Toddler Swing?
A: If you are concerned that your child is perhaps not ready for a swing like the ones we featured here, then you might want to start them with a Nursery Seat. These are self-contained suspension chairs that do not need to be mounted to the ceiling, but emulate many of the same dynamic motions of a “big-kid swing”.
Conclusion: The Best Toddler Swings For Your Kid
Because swings are so simple, it can be a common mistake to think that shopping for one is going to be easy. Finding the perfect toddler swing means comparing a whole host of variables while not going over budget. While the swings on this list represent what our team believes to be the best of the best, you can now use your newfound understanding to make a decision that is best for your own child.
For our dollar, however, it doesn’t get much better than the Little Tikes High Back Toddler Swing. While it lacks the fanciness and aesthetic flair of some of the other swings, it is the most versatile as it works great both indoors and out. The full wrap around bucket seat means that falling out is a near impossibility, and the roomy seat means that there is plenty of room for your child to grow before it’s time for a bigger swing.