Open Discussion Forum

Topic: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms? 

1.  Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-13-2017 03:07 PM
Here's a seemingly simple but vexing question that speaks to balancing teacher and student needs in classroom environments.

Years ago our infant-toddler classrooms sometimes included rocking chairs; some teaching teams preferred to have them available, feeling like the need for comfortable adult seating outweighed potential risks of injuries to children (pinched toes and fingers, flipped rockers) and that the risks could be mitigated by consistent guidance.

For the past two years, we have not had rockers but instead have used Back Jack floor chairs. These have proven very safe for young children to interact with, and are also lightweight and compact enough to be folded up and put aside when not in use.

However, we currently have a teacher who is experiencing some back/spinal pain due to holding and carrying infants (particularly those infants who prefer to be rocked to sleep) and is not able to sit on to, or rise from, the low Back Jack chairs comfortably.

I personally feel that the injury risks posed by rocking chairs outweigh their potential benefits. I think a comfortable armchair would be lovely, but the classroom is small and I would prefer that not too much of the space be taken up adult furniture.

I'm hoping to learn from your experiences: what has worked in your programs and classrooms?

Stephen Karmol
Portland OR

2.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 07:21 AM
Have you thought of a glider? It is heavier than a traditional rocker so the flip risk is much smaller. Also the risk of little fingers and toes getting pinched is small because of the chairs design. They generally aren't much bigger than a traditional rocker so it would not take up to much of the children's space. A lot of the infant classroom I visit have switched to them. Hope this helps!

Cecilia Mintz
Champaign IL

3.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 08:39 AM
​We also use a glider in our Infant classrooms. We have one that has a locking option when it's not in use, which is an added safety precaution when the children are crawling or cruising around it.

Krystle Murphy
Kendal at Hanover Children's Center
Hanover NH

4.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 08:57 AM
In our state we are required to have rocking chairs available for half of the staff in the classroom. We do not use regular rocking chairs or glider rockers because of the danger to children. We have a rocker recliner and a swivel rocker which are both harder for children to get to the rocking mechanism. I prefer the swivel as it takes up less room and allows greater visibility of the room.

Dolores Bumhoffer

5.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 09:54 AM
​We have a glider that has the rocking mechanism completely exposed.  Having experienced a horrific incident with a child's fingers and a traditional rocker 20 years ago, I was very careful in choosing a new rocker for my current work space. We have had no incidents in the five years it has been in our classroom. It also has the locking mechanism that was mentioned in another reply. It does take up quite a bit of space and was rather pricey at around $500.  We were only able to purchase such a nice one through a grant. I hope you can find a solution that works well for everyone.

Kristen Laitala
Indianapolis IN

6.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 09:51 AM
We had rocking chairs in our Infant room years ago. A rocker of some type is most important in an Infant room so a baby can be comfortably held and given a bottle, or rocked to sleep. Some babies can be heavy, so the comfort and safety of an adults back requires adult sized seating. What we eventually switched to is a glider
type of chair that has padded cushions on back and seat and it glides rather than rocks, but is soothing to a baby in the same way a rocker is.
What is different with a glider is that it is more stable when little ones try to pull up on it and while it has moving parts, a glider has proven to be a safer adult seating choice than a traditional rocker.
I own a child care center and after 28 years we have found a glider both necessary for staff and babies and safer than a rocker. You can easily find them at Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby as many women want them for their nurseries!
Patti Buehler

7.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 10:03 AM
​We are required to have adult seating in our classrooms.  In the non-mobile infant room we have a glider rocker.  It doesn't pose much of a risk to these infants because for the most part they aren't mobile.  In the mobile infant classroom we have a traditional rocking chair.  Staff are great at keeping the children away from the chair.  Most do not bother it since they are busy with lesson plans and play.  As they get older some have tried to climb into the chair, staff have placed a yoga ball into the chair when they aren't using it to prevent them from climbing into it.  The staff like the yoga ball as a chair when they need to feed one of the younger children baby food.

[Vanessa [Hein]
[Assistant Director]
[First Presbyterian Child Care ]
[Bismarck] [ND]

8.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-14-2017 10:11 AM
We have 9 locations.  Most of the centers have glider rockers.  We have been open 20 years and have never had a problem.  I personally have one with the locking mechanism and they are great but a bit spendy.  Recently some of our centers of gotten the Poang chairs from IIKEA.  They seem to really like them and they are cheaper than a glider.  Also with how much use a glider get's they do wear out.

Brandy Sroga-Coons
Creative Kids Academy
Elk River MN

9.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-17-2017 01:53 PM
Upholstered swivel gliders are very popular now as as they don't have an area to pinch fingers. I think this would fit your needs. Our center uses a glider rocker, however should it need replacing then an upholstered glider would be great. There are a variety of sizes and some are quite compact. They are also more comfortable than traditional rockers or gliders and do swivel so you can see the whole room. At the low end you can order from Wal-Mart/Sams Club for around $250 or more expensive ones go up to around $900.  The down side is washability, however choosing a washable fabric or even draping a blanket would take care of that.

Laura Clark, M.Ed.
Inter-Lakes Day Care Center & Nursery School
Meredith, NH

10.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-18-2017 11:37 AM
I agree that it's important to have adult-sized seating for the staff; the glider/swivel models have become more affordable (and look nice) and have less chance of fingers getting pinched, etc.  [Post edited to remove product recommendation and link]
Lori Burkart
EI/ECSE Assessment Specialist
Columbia Gorge ESD
The Dalles, OR

11.  RE: Adult Seating in Infant-Toddler Classrooms?

Posted 07-18-2017 04:38 PM
I have always been a big fan of Community Playthings furniture - it lasts forever (and if it doesn't they replace it!). It is a bit pricey up front but very safe and cleanable. I used these for years as an infant teacher.  [Edited to remove link to product.  Please reach out to the poster with product recommendations.]

Benjamin Planton
Infant Toddler Outcome Specialist - Partnerships for Early Learners
NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council