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My baby is just starting to get to an age where activity gyms are interesting to him. We have one that we borrowed from friends, but it takes up a fair amount of space in our tiny apartment. Plus, the ground is cold right now, so he seems less inclined to spend time on there. Since he is not yet sitting up, it seemed like I could string a makeshift gym across the top of his crib to put up for him to play with in there. A few questions:

  1. Any major safety concerns with this I might not have considered? I plan to take it down when baby isn't playing (e.g., when sleeping), will discontinue use after he can sit up, and will ensure that the toys are out of reach.

  2. If anyone has done this before, suggestions for how to go about it?

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It's always a risk adding anything to a crib. There are always be safety issues that people don't realize. For example, a longer string is a strangulation hazard. Too small of an object is a choking hazard. Too soft of an object is suffocation hazard. Even though you intend to take it down when the baby is not playing, other caretakers may not know to do this.

But if you insist on building your own, I would take a part from an existing activity gym. At least you know those parts will be child safety approved. Or copy their design exactly. Here's an example one for the Pack N Play. Note the short strings, which are attached by velcro (not permanent). The objects cannot fit inside their mouth, and are soft but firm.

Pack N Play

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I think it is very risky to add anything to a crib. I highly recommend that you do not do it. I am an anonymous, retired special needs teacher -- and this is my opinion. I am not a doctor.

Wanting your infant to exercise is exactly right. However, I don't think you need to buy anything. LINK WEBMD

  • Model exercise -- run with your infant in a running stroller or run on the spot while your child watches. Do yoga, sit-ups, pilates -- show your infant that exercise is a daily part of life.
  • Give the infant a small area on the floor with padding -- a soft quilt or mat and allow him or her to move. You can help gently.

link I do not know this website but did these sorts of exercises with students who were wheelchair bound and kids with limited learning capacity.

You are not trying to force anything. This far more about setting the stage for enjoying exercise and family participation in exercise. Movement is good, but if your infant shows any signs of stress, something isn't right. You might choose to ask your family doctor what s/he thinks about exercise with your infant.

  • I don't think that exercise comes into it... movement in infants is important if only for motor control reasons. Reaching and grabbing isn't about instilling an interest in true exercise as much as it's just getting the basic skills. Perhaps the term "activity gym" is what's causing this confusion? It's not really any sort of actual "gym"... it's merely a stimulating place for a baby to practice reaching and grabbing and gives them things to focus on visually, like a mobile. – Catija Jan 6 '17 at 1:01
  • @Catija The link I shared would disagree, and suggests exercise is important. I just went to see what I could see on that and the sites I like think exercise is good.I understand you have some info I don't. Would you please share it? There does seem to be some disagreement between experts. – WRX Jan 6 '17 at 1:27
  • I mean important to this question. The OP doesn't seem to care about exercise, only in giving the baby something to do. – Catija Jan 6 '17 at 1:31

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