Magazine article USA TODAY

Keeping Baby Busy

Magazine article USA TODAY

Keeping Baby Busy

Article excerpt

Infants are not known for their attention spans, so putting them down and hoping they'll stay amused while you accomplish something around the house or just catch a few moments for yourself can be wishful thinking. Playpens often are little better than cages, and walkers, with their danger of tipping over or rolling where they shouldn't, are more worrisome than reassuring.

The Play It Safe Exercise and Activity Center from Summer Infant Products, Inc., Cumberland, R.I., can keep both child and parents happy A four-sided plastic top with a wide shelf all around it perches on sturdy legs for perfect balance. In the center is a nylon seat with leg holes, so that baby can stand, sit, or bounce, while a safety strap keeps him or her securely in place. The seat ingeniously rotates a full 360[degrees], allowing access to the entire tray, as well as a panoramic view of the room.

On the tray, a quintet of activities keep the child amused and help develop hand-eye coordination. A clear ball that rotates in a socket contains a brightly colored butterfly for visual stimulation; a spinning rattle has colored beads that appear and disappear as it is turned; plastic fruit slices can be flipped back and forth; butterflies slide to and fro on a curvy track; and a telephone with dial that clicks and a button that beeps doubles as a teether with a very chompable receiver. There also is a recessed tray for drinks and snacks when an energetic tot works up an appetite. The unit folds easily, though safety locks prevent it from doing so when the child is in it, making the activity center portable for visits to Grandma and Grandpa and simple to store away. …

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