The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing earned our Editors' Choice award, beating out all the other options in our Baby Swing review. It outshone the competition regarding soothing ability thanks to its fully customizable features. It has soft, plush fabrics, many song and nature sounds, and multiple swing directions. The quirkily patterned mobile can be turned on to rotate while the baby is in the swing and has a mirrored surface to entertain the baby from below. The seat is designed for a newborn up to 25 lbs and is sure to keep your baby happy.
Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing Review
Pros: Good soothing ability, multiple swing directions, interactive mobile
Cons: Large footprint, loud, difficult assembly
Our Analysis and Test Results
Herman Fisher, Irving Price, and Helen Schelle got together in 1930 New York and together started the Fisher-Price toy company. Their mission was creating innovative baby toys that would be more fun and exciting than what was available at the time to better stimulate early development in babies and toddlers. Today, Fisher-Price is a household name in most homes with young children. It has grown to be more than just a toy company, offering baby gear products such as high chairs, bassinets, and baby swings as well as their iconic baby toys.
We are impressed with the functionality of this swing, once again. Its combination of soothe-ability, ease of use, quality, and safety features make it a parent favorite. It is the perfect place for a baby to calm down, nap, or chill while giving mom or dad a hands-free moment.
The main purpose of having a baby swing is to soothe a fussy baby, and this is where the Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing excels. The plush fabric found on the seat (above left) and insert are gentle on sensitive skin. The deep seat helps maintain proper hip flexion and gives a baby a feeling of being snuggled close. There are six swinging speeds and 16 different songs and soothing nature sounds. When being used at full speed it may get a bit loud compared to some of the competition, but this is likely more bothersome to parents than babies as some babies find the rhythmic whirring and clicking comforting.
There are two recline positions, the first is nearly flat for younger infants (above right), and the second is more upright for when your baby is older and has better head and neck control, usually around four months. The Cradle 'n Swing is one of the few products in the review that has multiple swing directions and can be easily rotated to either the left or right using a button at the top of the swing. The direction of the motor remains the same, but turning the seat allows it to swing front to back or side-to-side. The best part is that all this can be done while the baby is in place, so you don't have to worry about adjusting things while holding a crabby child in your arms.
The mobile on the Cradle 'n Swing was one of the best in the group. It is the only mobile that is not stationary, and turning it on will make the cute leaves and brightly colored animals rotate above your baby. The underside of the motor has convex, mirrored surface so that baby can see their reflection. This mobile design includes much thought for baby's enjoyment, and it paid off as it easily keeps little ones entertained while in the seat.
Ease of Use
Out of the box assembly of the Cradle 'n Swing is a bit more involved than some others. It requires an included tool and a close read of the instruction manual to get everything set up. Once assembled, however, the controls are very intuitive (below left) and easy to use, and we never had any problems or reason to refer to the manual again.
We like the style of the 5-point harness (below right) because all of the straps are separate and can be laid out of the way while putting the baby in place. This also means that the harness can be strapped around the baby, rather than having to try and fit wiggly limbs through the armholes. The crotch strap has a padded backing to avoid any potential pinching.
Unfortunately, the Cradle 'n Swing is very large. It has the most substantial footprint of the competition, taking up 1,540 sq inches of floor space. If it is ever necessary to move or store this swing, the back support can be unhooked in order to fold the legs together, but this does not really change the bulk of the swing, so we recommend having a dedicated space where it can remain set up during the months it is used.
The Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing is a good quality product. The components of the swing all feel sturdy, and the fabric holds up well through multiple washes. Some long-term users have reported that the motor starts to have issues after three months, especially when consistently used with heavier babies. However, this doesn't seem to be a common problem, and Fisher-Price covers the swing parts under warranty, so getting a replacement shouldn't be too difficult.
Regarding safety, this swing checks all the required boxes. The deep seat keeps the baby in an ergonomically correct position and allows enough recline that there is no worry of slumping over in a way that could block the air passage. It has a 5-point harness to keep baby secure, and an extra-wide base to keep the swing stable at full speed. The bottoms of the feet have a rubberized material to keep it from edging itself over with the swing's momentum.
Fisher-Price makes a wide variety of baby swings in addition to the Cradle 'n Swing. A few alternate options to consider are:
- Fisher-Price Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat is Fisher-Price's portable baby swing. It has six swing speeds, a vibration setting, and can be folded for easy storage or transport.
- The Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing is a full-size swing with many of the same features as the Cradle 'n Swing reviewed here. It has multiple swing directions, songs and nature sounds, and a cool mobile. Additionally, it has a starlight show and canopy above baby's head. It also has a removable play tray that goes over baby's lap.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Abriah Wofford