A large number of pushchairs come with bumper bars as standard, but some manufacturers list them as optional accessories. This leaves parents wondering whether they need this enigmatic piece of equipment. Knowing what to look for when buying a pushchair with a bumper bar, or adding one to an existing pram, requires a greater understanding of the product and its uses.
Safety for Bumper Bars
In general, the bumper bar is not a safety device to keep the child in the pushchair. Instead, it provides an object for the child to hold on to. Bumper bars should be padded for the baby's safety in fabrics that are easy to wipe, such as vinyl. Terrycloth or fabric covers must be removed for washing.
Bumper Bar Carry Handles
Some bumper bars can be used as a carry handle for a pushchair, but it depends on the brand and model. Parents should always confirm with the seller if the bumper bar is rated for use as a carry handle before attempting to lift the pram using this method. Bumper bars sometimes break, especially if they have been used incorrectly as carry handles. For safety, parents should always remove or replace a bumper bar that is damaged. Bumper bars are specific to the pushchair's brand and model, such as Bugaboo Cameleon or Bugaboo Frog, so before buying a replacement, parents should check that it is compatible.
Convenience of Bumper Bars
Many parents find that bumper bars get in the way when trying to get babies in and out of pushchairs. For a more convenient option, buyers should look for a product that swings away and latches securely without the possibility of pinching babies' fingers. Other convenient options available on some bumper bars include cup holders.
Toys and Activities
Keeping babies entertained is made easy with bumper bars that are narrow enough to allow toys to be clipped or strapped on. Some pushchairs offer activity bars, rather than a padded bumper bar, with brightly coloured toys for babies to play with. When choosing this type of bar, buyers should look for a product with replaceable toys that can be updated to keep babies happy at different developmental stages.