While a good baby swing often makes the list of parenting essentials, some full-size models can be surprisingly bulky and heavy.
Fortunately, you’re not out of luck even if you’re short on living space or want the option of easy transport. Thanks to thoughtful, versatile designs and helpful features, smaller swings can pack just as much soothing power as their full-size counterparts.
We’ve sorted through the crowd to find the best baby swing for small spaces, and we’ve also put together some tips to help you figure out exactly what to look for while shopping.
Our Top Picks at a Glance
- Graco Simple Sway
- Ingenuity Portable Swing
- Ingenuity Swing ‘n Go
- Graco EveryWay Soother Baby Swing
- 4moms rockaRoo
- Fisher-Price 2-in-1 Deluxe Soothe ‘n Play Glider
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.
What Are Baby Swings?
Babies are accustomed to motion from their earliest days in the womb, and parents quickly learn that their infants often seem to find it easiest to relax while rocking or being carried.
The introduction of Graco’s wind-up Swyngomatic in 1955 allowed parents to place their children in a safe device that could also provide the soothing motion their babies craved. Today’s baby swings have come a long way in terms of convenient features, and you have two main types to choose between.
A traditional swing has long, thin legs and a seat that hangs suspended from the top of the device. A motor housed in the swing’s upper portion moves the seat forward and backward.
Traditional swings often have music and toy features to keep your child entertained, and some models are extremely lightweight and easy to fold.
As opposed to a suspended seat that swings back and forth, a glider uses a motor contained in the lower base piece to move the seat from beneath. A glider produces a smooth, repetitive movement rather than an actual swinging motion.
While gliders still have a stable, wide base, they usually take up less space than a traditional swing. Gliders also frequently offer multiple motion patterns, and some models detach to produce different configurations.
Benefits of Using a Swing
Especially if you don’t have much room in your home to spare, you might be on the fence about whether a swing is worth the investment of money and space. These are a few ways that a swing might prove to be a big help in your household.
- Soothing for colicky babies. Perhaps because the rhythmic motion reminds your newborn of their time in the womb, swinging seems to be an effective soother for some infants suffering from colic. Many swings also offer a vibration feature that can take the calming effect to the next level.
- Helps you get some household chores done. Although it’s not a replacement for frequent holding and cuddling from a loving adult, a swing can be a great way to meet your baby’s desire for gentle motion while also freeing up your arms for a time.
- Entertaining toys or sounds. Many swings have a variety of songs or other sounds that can function as calming white noise, and most models have an overhead toy bar or mobile feature that gives your baby something to look at while they ride.
- Involves your baby in family life. The smaller models we’re covering here give you a great deal of flexibility in where you can place your child’s swing, so you can always have your baby nearby while you’re busy around the house. Since they face outward, your baby gets a clear view of what’s going on around them, and a swing usually places your baby at the perfect height for you or any older siblings to play with.
When Can You Use a Swing?
Your baby’s safety is your top priority, so make sure to follow proper guidelines for appropriate swing usage.
When is a Baby Too Old to Use a Swing?
Rather than being a strictly age-based process, determining if your child has outgrown the swing depends on your specific model’s parameters and your child’s behavior.
These are some indications that you should still be able to use your swing safely.
- Your child weighs less than your swing’s weight capacity.
- The harness straps fit comfortably and buckle securely.
- Your child still enjoys using the swing and does not try to climb out.
Be sure to check your swing’s instruction manual carefully. Some models are only safe for babies who aren’t able to sit up independently, while others are appropriate for stronger babies to use.
Can a Newborn Use a Swing?
As long your baby meets the manufacturer’s minimum weight requirement and the seat of your swing reclines, your newborn should be able to safely use a swing for short amounts of time.
However, very young babies have weak neck muscles, and they may not be able to straighten themselves if they sink into a dangerous position that compromises their breathing. Use the lowest recline position possible, and never leave your child unattended in the swing for any amount of time.
If you have any concerns about your newborn using a swing, it’s always a good idea to ask your child’s healthcare provider for their recommendation.
How Long Can a Baby Stay in a Swing?
Since an infant’s skull bones are still in the process of hardening and developing, babies who spend too much lying in one position are at risk for developing flat or bald spots.
Even though some babies may seem content to swing all day, limit your child to about 30 minutes in the swing at a time.
What to Look For in a Baby Swing
Soft fabrics and plenty of padding can help your child ride in comfort, and removable head support pads can help you tailor the swing seat to your growing child’s changing needs.
Since young infants don’t have strong muscle control and tend to slide downwards in a seat, a wide, padded crotch strap can help prevent uncomfortable pressure on sensitive areas.
A wide base gives your baby’s swing better stability and reduces the risk of tipping over. Rubberized pads can also help provide some extra grip on hardwood or laminate floors.
Most swings offer a five-point or a three-point safety harness to prevent falls. Look for straps that are easy to adjust as your child grows. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, your swing needs to have a five-point harness if the seat is capable of achieving a 50-degree angle or higher.
Even if the description specifically states that a model is a space-saving option, pay close attention to the unfolded dimensions of the swing.
Think about the places in your home where you intend to place the swing. If these are high-traffic areas, measuring your space before choosing a swing can help you avoid ending up with a trip hazard.
Almost all traditional swings use battery power, and a limited number of models also include an adaptor that lets you plug the swing into a wall outlet. Many gliders use a standard wall outlet as their motor’s power source, but you may also need batteries to power some of the other optional functions.
If the cost or hassle of using batteries is a concern for you, look for a model that either has long battery life or plugs into a wall outlet.
Many swings offer extra features to give your child a more entertaining or calming experience, and some of these functions can also help make life easier for you.
- Music or other soothing sounds. Most tunes are either classical pieces or familiar nursery rhymes, and many swings also include a selection of nature sounds.
Attached toys or mobile. Especially since young babies don’t have clear distance vision for the first few months, having some colorful toys in close range can give your child something to look at while they swing.
As your child gets older, they can also work on their motor skills by reaching for the toys.
- Vibration. Babies often find the sensation of gentle vibration soothing.
- Swing timer. To maximize battery life, some swings let you set a timer for automatic shut-off. The timer increments are usually about 15, 30 or 45 minutes.
Considerations When Buying a Baby Swing
There’s no shortage of swing options to choose from, so taking some time to think about the following points can help you pick the swing that best fits your needs.
How Long Will Your Child Use the Swing?
Not every compact baby swing can accommodate a child from the newborn weeks through the early toddler days. Most gliders are only safe to use before your baby can sit independently, so you’ll probably need to purchase a traditional style if you want to use the same swing for many months.
Will You Use the Swing Away from Home?
If you’re looking for a portable baby swing to bring along to a grandparent’s house or on vacation, you’ll want a model that is lightweight and folds compactly.
Some traditional models weigh only a few pounds and have quick-fold mechanisms, so they can be a great option for easy transport. Since gliders tend to be fairly weighty and lack folding mechanisms, they usually aren’t ideal for traveling.
Are the Materials and Surfaces Easy to Clean?
Babies make messes, so having an easy-to-clean swing can save you some time and aggravation. Check to see if the swing you’re interested in has a machine-washable seat pad that is easy to remove and replace.
Our Choices for the Best Baby Swing for Small Spaces
With a deep, soft seat and plenty of built-in entertainment, your child can enjoy a relaxing ride in comfort.
Rather than the forward and backward motions typical of swings, the Simple Sway moves from side to side for a gentle and soothing ride. You have your choice of six swing speeds, and a simple dial makes selecting your preferred setting easy.
A collection of ten tunes and five nature sounds gives you plenty of options for calming background noise, and the seat also has a two-speed vibration feature. Three stars that hang suspended above the seat sway gently with the swing’s motion, so your child can have a peaceful scene to watch while they ride.
You don’t have to worry about falls with a five-point harness system, and the upper and side straps are easy to adjust. Unfortunately, the crotch strap is somewhat short and does not adjust at all, so some babies may find it a bit uncomfortable.
One of the Simple Sway’s best features is the option to power the swing with a standard wall outlet.
You can also use D batteries as a power source, but if your child uses the swing frequently, you may be looking at a considerable expense. However, the plug-in cord only powers the motor and music functions, so you’ll still need to use batteries for the seat vibration feature.
- Unfolded dimensions: 30 inches long, 31 inches wide and 38 inches tall
- Product weight: 17.2 pounds
- Child weight range: 5.5 to 30 pounds
- Power source: Four D batteries or option to use standard wall outlet for motor and sounds
- Smooth side-to-side motion
- Option to use electric power
- Star mobile for visual entertainment
- Sound and vibration features
- No adjustment points for the lower strap
The Simple Sway provides a comfortable side-to-side motion, and the attached mobile, vibration and sounds all contribute to a peaceful experience. Using the adaptor can also be a cost-effective option if your child uses the swing frequently.
With an ultra-light frame that collapses nearly flat, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a swing that is as readily portable as the Soothe and Delight.
The seat has comfortable padding with a vibrant, fun print. Choose between two levels of recline that let your newborn lay at a relaxed angle or your older infant sit in a semi-upright position. A brightly colored stuffed lion and elephant hang from the overhead bar, and they are close enough to the seat that even a young baby should be able to easily see them.
Even though many other swings have a folding frame, Ingenuity took the collapsibility concept a step further by putting a hinge in the seat itself that allows the swing to fold down to a mere 6 inches. Combined with the light frame, transporting the Soothe and Delight is a breeze.
The adjustable five-point safety harness keeps your little one snugly in place, and we like that the crotch strap is wide enough that it shouldn’t create an uncomfortable pressure point.
One downside is that you may not be able to use this compact baby swing with an older infant. The C batteries supply a bit less power to effectively move a heavier baby, and the upper weight limit is on the low side.
- Unfolded dimensions: 22.5 inches long, 28.5 inches wide and 23 inches tall
- Product weight: 7.01 pounds
- Child weight range: 6 to 20 pounds
- Power source: Four C batteries
- Excellent for moving around the house or transporting to another location
- Stable, low design
- Dangling animal friends to look at
- Low upper weight limit
Ideal for very young babies, this Ingenuity swing provides a comfortable ride with brightly colored toys to keep your little one’s attention. With a low profile and compact folding mechanism, this swing takes up a minimum of space in your house, car or storage area.
This little swing uses clever technology to provide a surprisingly quiet ride and stellar battery life.
Most swings use mechanical gears to move the seat, but the Swing ‘n Go mechanism takes advantage of magnetic power to produce movement in almost complete silence. While you’ll never have to deal with the annoyance of gears becoming noisy over time, one downside is that the magnets may not be powerful enough to swing older or heavier infants.
The magnetic movement mechanism also takes up far less power, so you can expect the Swing ‘n Go’s battery life to be significantly longer than most other models. This feature could be especially useful if you plan to travel with the swing and want to avoid the issue of having to track down batteries while you’re away from home.
With its low height, five-point harness and rubberized pads, the Swing ‘n Go offers a stable, safe design. Your baby can enjoy gazing at the two stuffed toys suspended overhead, and you can also remove the toy bar if you’d prefer a fully open top.
The seat has comfortable padding with a soft plush border and removable head support pad. Your child can lay back at a fixed semi-reclined angle, but we wish there were adjustable recline positions to choose from.
While the Swing ‘n Go is certainly light enough to travel well, there is no quick-fold mechanism, and you’ll also need a screwdriver to assemble and disassemble the frame.
- Unfolded dimensions: 30.5 inches long, 21 inches wide and 24 inches tall
- Product weight: 6.7 pounds
- Child weight range: 6 to 20 pounds
- Power source: Four D batteries
- Quiet operation won’t disturb your baby
- Long battery life
- Fun toys on removable bar
- Rubberized safety pads
- Not ideal for larger babies
- No recline options
Thanks to an innovative magnetic mechanism, the Swing ‘n Go offers quiet movement and excellent battery life. The lightweight frame is easy to lift for moving, but you will need to plan for extra transport or storage space.
As a glider with a unique twist, the EveryWay Soother offers you multiple setting options while also taking up a minimum of space.
Rather than being limited to one or two motions, the EveryWay Soother’s innovative design allows you to choose from one of eight gliding motions, including figure eight, arch and zig-zag patterns. You can also swivel the seat to face in multiple directions, so your child can swing from side to side or forward and backward.
You have three recline settings to choose from, and you can also turn on the seat’s vibration feature for a little extra comfort. To top it off, the seat easily detaches from the base to double as a rocking floor seat.
Although the EveryWay Soother offers an impressive list of features to choose from, the upright design gives this swing an incredibly small footprint. Even if the only space you have for a swing is a small corner, your baby can still enjoy the wide variety of soothing motions.
The EveryWay Soother plugs into a standard wall outlet for the motor and sound functions, so you’ll never have to worry about battery cost or discovering a dead battery when your child wants to swing. You will need a D battery to power the seat vibration, however.
Even though the upper and lower portions detach, you will still need a fair amount of space for transport or storage.
- Unfolded dimensions: 28 inches long, 25.5 inches wide and 35 inches tall
- Product weight: 22.5 pounds
- Child weight range: 5.5 to 25 pounds
- Power source: Standard wall outlet for motor and sounds; vibration feature requires one D battery
- Multifunctional item
- Variety of movement patterns
- Powered with a standard wall outlet
- Three recline settings
- Transport can be a challenge
The EveryWay Soother has a unique shape that takes up a minimum of space while also providing a wide variety of features and uses.
Taking up about a third of the space that a standard swing occupies, the rockaRoo glider can be a great way to maximize the area that you have to work with.
The rockaRoo aims to mimic the gliding motion of a rocking chair rather than create a true swinging motion. The seat slides smoothly forward and backward, and you can set one of five speeds. The only downside to the motion aspect is that the rockaRoo tends to make a clicking noise with each pass.
With a sleek, oval shape, the rockaRoo has a modern style that looks more like a piece of furniture than a baby item. The rounded shape also means there are also no corners or bars to stub your toe on or trip over.
Three fun toys gently float overhead as your baby rides. Each toy has a solid-colored and a high-contrast patterned side, and you can easily switch to whatever side your child prefers.
In the event of a mess, you can easily detach the outer cover and throw it in the washing machine. A three-point harness fits snugly over your baby’s hips, and the center attachment has a padded surface for extra comfort.
One downside to the seat is its fixed shape. Without the option for a greater degree of recline, a baby who hasn’t yet developed the strength to hold themselves straight may slide down.
- Unfolded dimensions: 29.6 inches long, 16.5 inches wide and 27.5 inches tall
- Product weight: 11.5 pounds
- Child weight range: 6 to 25 pounds
- Power source: Standard wall outlet
- Smooth gliding motion
- Great space saver
- Mobile with reversible toys
- Easy to remove the seat padding for washing
- Can be noisy
- Fixed seat shape
The rockaRoo uses a clever design to provide your child with a smooth, comfortable ride while taking up a minimum of space. The electrical power source spares you from the expense and hassle of batteries, but you may have to put up with some noise from the motor.
With the option to use the Soothe ‘n Play as a gliding swing or a rocking seat, this device can help you make the most of whatever space you have to work with.
The Soothe ‘n Play features a rotating seat that lets you choose between a side-to-side movement or a traditional head-to-toe motion. Your child can enjoy some calming vibrations as they relax, and you should be able to find an audio option that your child likes from the list of 16 sings and three nature sounds. Two detachable toys dangle overhead, and older babies should be able to reach the toys with relative ease.
For extra adaptability, you can also use the rocker mode by lifting the seat off of the base. The seat has two curved lower bars that gently rock as your baby plays in the seat. While you don’t have the option to play music in rocker mode, you can still turn on the vibrating feature.
A three-point harness with a wide, padded crotch strap provides some support while helping your baby to stay comfortably in place. Thanks to a slider bar on the seat’s underside, you have multiple recline settings to choose from.
Four rounded feet extend from the Soothe ‘n Play’s base to give the device a wide, stable foundation, and rubberized feet also provide a strong grip on smooth floors. While the design offers great stability, you’ll want to use extra caution in tight spaces since the feet could present a trip hazard.
- Unfolded dimensions: 31.5 inches long, 28.2 inches wide and 23.9 inches tall
- Product weight: 19 pounds
- Child weight range: Up to 25 pounds
- Power source: Standard wall outlet for powering the base; vibration feature requires one D battery
- Two-piece design offers multiple functions
- Cute, detachable toys
- Nice selection of high-quality audio options
- Variety of recline positions
- Stabilizing feet could be a trip hazard
The Soothe ‘n Play offers your baby a smooth ride and fun toys to look at or reach for. With multiple electronic settings, audio choices and configurations, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from.
The size of your space doesn’t need to keep your child from enjoying some quiet time in a swing. Whether you’re looking for a newborn swing to use exclusively at home or a portable model for your older infant, you have many great options to choose from.
Looking closely at each swing’s features, taking careful measurements of the space you have available and thinking about how you plan to use your swing can help you choose the model that will best meet your family’s needs.
Have you had any experience with using a baby swing in a small space? What type of swing worked out best for your family? Do you have any other questions or thoughts to share? Let us know in the comments!