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What Are Papasan Swings?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Papasan swings are infant cradles which consist of a cushioned chair unit suspended from an arch-like frame by an arm located at the chair’s rear. They are called papasan swings due to the design similarities between their seats and those of adult-sized papasan chairs. Unlike traditional infant swings, papasan swings are capable of moving in both back-and-forth and side-to-side motions. Many models have special features such as attached mobiles and built-in audio.

The exact design of papasan swings can vary from model to model. In general, however, most consist of a bowl-like chair which is covered by a soft cushion. An upward-reaching arm located at the chair’s rear is attached to an arch-like frame. The upper portion of the frame houses a motor, which makes the chair rock when engaged. Some models are battery-powered, some feature an AC adapter, and some can run on either type of power.

These swings derive their name from the resemblance between their seats and those of adult-sized papasan chairs. Both of these pieces feature soft, removable cushions. Often, these cushions have removable, machine-washable covers, making them easy to care for. Additionally, the bowl shape of both seats creates a nest-like environment for the sitter. While adult papasan seats are typically round, however, papasan swing seats tend to be oblong in shape.

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Most traditional infant swings are attached to an overhead frame by two arms located at the outer edges of their seats’ sides. This design results in a swing capable of swinging only in a back-and-forth motion. The single-arm design utilized by papasan swings allows for a much wider range of motion. Therefore, papasan swings are commonly able to swing in both back-and-forth and side-to-side motions, which may prove more soothing to an infant than a single motion. Many models feature multiple programmed settings that can rock the swing at different speeds and in different motion patterns.

Often, papasan swings have special features intended to help comfort and entertain infants. For instance, many have audio capabilities, and can play a number of prerecorded sounds and songs which may help relax some babies. Others feature hanging items or other attached objects intended to entertain an infant or to provide visual stimulation. Visual features commonly found on many papasan swings include mirrors and mobiles made from soft objects, often in a color scheme that matches the rest of the swing.

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