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 started Fisher-Price, the now-famous toy maker. 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.
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 both the seat and insert is 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, 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. You can easily rotate the cradle to face 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 the baby can stay in place while all this is happening, 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 a convex, mirrored surface so that the 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 and easy to use, and we never had any problems or reasons to refer to the manual again.
We like the style of the 5-point harness 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 unhook and allow the legs to fold together. However, this does not change the bulk of the swing significantly, so we recommend having a dedicated space where it can remain set up during the months baby will use it.
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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Abriah Wofford