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A child hammock is a lot of fun, but it's important that your child knows how to properly use the hammock-there are a few things you can teach your young hammock user to increase safety and enjoyment. Have your child inspect the hammock every day for frayed ropes or connections or other signs of wear. This teaches them to be mindful of safety and helps you keep tabs on the sturdiness of the child hammock. As you watch your child enter the hammock, make sure they sit right in the middle, which gives a more stable entry. Never overload a child hammock-if it is only rated for the weight of a single person, don't let two children use it at the same time.
Nearly every child hammock warns parents not to let a child enter the hammock feet first. The major safety issue concerns the shifting center of gravity. It's very easy for someone, adult or child, to fall and injure themselves by entering feet first. For this reason, children should always be supervised getting in and out of a hammock. Kids get caught up in whatever play they are engaged in at the time and often forget basic safety rules. This is how tiny fingers get pinched in doors, and also how children can fall out of a child hammock without proper supervision. Make the hammock a parent-and-child moment every time it is used-this will reduce the temptation to get in and out unobserved.
There are many sizes and shapes of child hammocks, but two basic models are easily located once you start searching. The first is a hammock-style baby crib or cradle. These are designed to gently rock a baby to sleep and often don't resemble a traditional-style hammock. The second version is much more recognizable as a hammock. These are made for a variety of ages, designed for indoor use, and many come with optional mounting hardware. If your child has already worn out the hammock material but you don't need to replace the wall mounts, many websites allow you to buy just the hammock. Whichever model you choose, it's very important to pay close attention in the early days of your child's hammock experience. If he or she doesn't 'take' to the hammock as expected, be sure you know what your hammock manufacturer's return policies say. Don't give up on a child's hammock simply because one model doesn't work-a different configuration may be just the ticket for a boy or girl who didn't quite like the first one tried.
An unsupervised hammock is an attractive plaything to a child. The more children and the nuisance factor of your hammock increases exponentially. The dangers range from moderate to potentially life threatening. Tripping over a low hanging hammock can cause serious injury. Tipping off the side of a hammock can also cause serious injury. But worst of all is the potential strangulation hazard in the cords. Supervise young children around your hammock.
There are some kinds of free standing child hammocks built especially for sitting in. These child hammocks are not built for sleeping or napping, but they are perfect for gentle rocking. A child should be told that while a hammock swing rocks a bit like the playground version, it is not meant for fast or high swinging. The same goes for a "grown-up" version. Your kids may be tempted to play on the hammock swing like they do on the playground-this is one of the reasons it's best to make hammock time a parent-child togetherness activity instead of an unsupervised one.
Some child and adult hammocks are designed for use in swimming pools. This can be great fun for the kids, especially those who are tired of swimming and just want to float on the water. It's very important to know the limitations of a pool hammock before your child uses one. Is it better to enter the hammock by lifting the child into it, or is it better for them to enter in the shallow end of the pool? Some pools are too deep for a child to stand up in, even in the shallow end. You may need to assist your little ones getting in and out. Never let a child stand in a pool hammock, the risk of tipping and tangling in the hammock under water is too great.
A child hammock is great fun, but sometimes you want to have some together time, hammock-style. This is where the family-sized hammock comes in. Many companies sell these giant hammocks, which can accommodate multiple kids and adults. When enjoying a giant hammock, have one adult get in first, then help your child in next, and then another person can climb in. As always, never get in feet first, and always double-check your hammock for signs of wear and tear, especially when you have multiple users at the same time! Many giant size hammocks can be ordered with stands. This takes the burden of tying off your hammock, and you can purchase a stand rated for the amount of weight you think you'll be needed for multiple hammock users. Never exceed the recommended capacity for your hammock and stand. If you find you need a sturdier hammock stand to handle additional weight, you can always purchase a new stand and save the old one for times when you plan on using it by yourself.
If your child complains about his or her hammock experience, there a few things you can try that can improve the hammock's "comfort zone".
Check on the child hammock material. A new cotton hammock has a bit of a break-in period where the material will stretch as the cotton gets used to the weight of the child. If a cotton child hammock feels too rigid, it may just be this breaking-in period.
Pillows, while decorative, may not always agree with you in the hammock. Many people feel more comfort without the pillow, and vice-versa.
Lying at an angle in the hammock provides the best comfort and support. Some people find it most comfortable to lie in the center of the hammock vertically as opposed to the more traditional horizontal position where the head and fee fit into the "ends" of the hammock. Have your child try lying in the opposite position to see if that makes a difference in comfort.
Child Hammock care depends greatly on the kind of material it is made of. If you have a treated synthetic material, you may be able to hose off the hammock and let it drip dry. This can be a fun parent-and-child activity. If you have a cotton or other natural fiber child hammock, you may need to hand wash it and let it drip-dry. Never put a natural fiber hammock away when it is wet or damp, as this invites mold and mildew. A smelly hammock is an unused one! Always check the instruction label for the best care practices, but remember that if your child is old enough, he or she will benefit greatly from being included in the 'care and feeding' of the child hammock.