Cons: Sometimes difficult to move No extra features
The Bottom Line: This take-along swing could stand to be a little more portable but is great to have around and fairly easy to take along.
When I registered for baby gifts it was important to my husband and I to choose a swing. We didn't know a lot about what kind of swing babies *really* like best, so we absent-mindedly chose the Fisher-Price Open Top Take-Along Swing. We liked the pattern and the idea of portability, but we didn't look too much further into it. While there are things I wish I had in a baby swing that this one lacks, I do love the simplicity of it and am glad to own it.
The Fisher-Price brand name is best known for the Little People toys, but has been producing a wide variety of baby and toddler toys, clothes and care products for almost eighty years. It is one of the first brand names I thought about when I began registering and shopping for my baby, though I admit I don't know much about the brand's trust-ability when it comes to baby products; I mostly remember it from my own childhood.
About the Swing
This swing is marketed for its portability. It is fairly light-weight and approximately 2 feet tall, wide, and deep. The swing folds together and the seat collapses together (read more of the review for further detail). The fabric seat is primarily brown in color and has a woodsy-animal print on it, hence the 'Woodlands' name. The swing is made for infants. It has five swinging speeds on it, but no other features (i.e. music, vibration, different directions to wing, etc.). The seat features a three-point harness system. The swing takes four C-cell batteries to operate.
This being my first baby I wasn't sure what to expect in many, many regards... but that's mostly beyond the scope of this review. I registered for the Fisher-Price Open Top Take-Along Swing because it looked simple and, again, because I didn't really know what else to register for, as I didn't want to go for the all-out big-dollar swings and gliders. That being said, I'm fairly impressed with this swing, though it lacks the bells and whistles many moms, dads, and babies often desire.
The swing came in a good-sized rather flat box unassembled, but my husband had it put together in just a few minutes using only his screwdriver. The seat of the swing is wide, long and tall, and very sturdy; I had no problem fitting my baby in the swing when he was only a few weeks old, and he still fits comfortable in it at 12 weeks old (he weighed just under 12 pounds and measured 23 inches at his last appointment, to give you an idea). I can tell he'll be able to use this swing for a good while, and I'm sure it can fit oddly sized and shaped babies, though I WOULD NOT suggest putting a baby over 20-25 pounds in the swing (Fisher-Price's weight limit is 25 pounds). The seat is tilted back somewhat and is opened at a slightly obtuse angle of probably 120 degrees. It is covered in a thick, plush fabric that is very soft to the touch with a sturdy and easy to use three-point harness to secure the baby. The fabric seat cover is machine washable and easy to remove. The legs or posts of the swing are A-shaped and made of a sturdy but light-weight beige-colored metal, with plastic pieces on the bottom/floor bars to help keep the swing from moving or sliding. The on/off control and the speed adjustment are both located on the right side on a panel near the top of the leg; on the adjacent side are two simple illustrations to show the user that the swing is portable and has five speeds. The one/off switch simply pushes left or right, and the speed adjustment is a button that moves up and down.
I don't know that I'd necessarily say 'speed' when describing the five adjustments on this swing; the swing pretty much always goes just as fast on any of the settings (back and then forth within one second), but the five different levels control how far forward and backward it swings. The first and lowest setting is a very gentle one, not moving forward or backward more than an inch or two, while the fifth and highest setting moves back and forth about eight inches apart. When my son was only a few weeks old I always started the swing on the lowest speed setting and didn't often move past the third speed. Now I generally put him in at the third setting and move up to the highest (his favorite setting when he is awake). I find there isn't much difference between the five speed settings at each interval, though there is a noticeable difference between setting one and two; this makes it easy to go from one setting to another without startling a sleeping (or even an awake) baby. I do wish there were maybe a few more settings, possible one at each end of the spectrum, and I also wish there was a real speed adjustment for faster and slower swinging.
The swing makes a gentle, quiet clicking or rocking sound with each backward and forward movement, and while this may annoy some people I find it rather soothes both me and baby, often helping lull him to sleep. There is not music that plays and there is no vibration, nor is there different directions to swing. The batteries last for a decent amount of time also. I placed new batteries in this swing when I received it at the end of October and had to replace them the first week of January, two months later: we use our swing between two to eight hours each day, so the battery life was fairly worthwhile. When the batteries begin running down the swing slows down and doesn't swing as hard, eventually just plain stopping, obviously.
As mentioned before and as can be assumed from the product's name, this swing is portable and can be taken not only from room to room but to other places as well. To 'take-along' this swing, it must be folded up. The A-frame legs fold together easily: two buttons on the front-inside on each side of the top must be pressed in simultaneously to bring the front legs in, then two buttons on the back-inside again to bring in the back legs. The legs make a clicking sound to let you know they've locked securely into place. The need to press two buttons at the same time in order to fold the legs together makes it difficult for the swing to fold together on its own or for a toddler to accidentally fold up the swing endangering him/herself and/or the baby. The seat closes in on itself (no buttons or release levers) to make a fairly flat piece for easier carrying. We have given this swing a lot of use and have never had problems with either the seat or legs collapsing while in use. Unfortunately the swing doesn't become and shorter for easier carrying, still standing at about two feet tall. While the lightweight swing is easier to carry collapsed it is still difficult for shorty (five feet flat) me to carry when I'm, say, going up the stairs with it. Also, because the folded seat and collapsed legs don't lock together when it's in 'portable' mode the seat is still mobile, and carrying it can be a hassle when the seat starts swinging. *On that note: PLEASE don't try carrying this swing while carrying baby and don't carry the swing with baby in it!
My little guy loves this swing (most of the time), and thus mommy and daddy love it, too. I received this swing as a gift and thus didn't pay for it, but I understand it was just under $50 at Target. While the swing doesn't have any other features, such as vibration, music or sounds, or direction options the five speeds and portability make it a great simple, cheap option. While I now wish it wasn't the only swing I had it is great that it is so mobile. I can easily move this swing around single levels in my home, but I have to have my husband help me get it up and down our stairs (a trip it makes at least once daily). It's also nice to be able to easily transport this swing in the car so baby can relax and swing at friends' and relatives' houses. The batteries last long enough to make the swing worthwhile, though they need to be changed every few months with regular use.
While I wish the Fisher-Price Open Top Take-Along Swing was a little more portable for shorties like me it does suit our needs. There are minor things I would change about this swing, but overall it is a winner for our family.
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