I love multi-purpose baby products... items that perform more than one function, or that last through more than one developmental stage. When registering at Babies R Us before my twins were born, I was thrilled to discover the Fisher Price Swing 'n Meals. This product starts out as a swing, converts to a high chair, and finishes as a booster chair... a good two years of useful life before it goes into storage, unless it's time for another baby.
Recommend this product?
The Swing 'n Meals is an open-top swing. The navy-blue frame folds for easy storage. The seat reclines for newborns and babies who like to nap while swinging, but it can also be adjusted to be more upright for older babies and babies who like to play while swinging.
The seat cover is reversible. One side is navy-blue plaid with ruffled trim, and has a cloth-like texture. The other side is plastic decorated with cartoons of classic Fisher Price toys. Although this side is supposed to be used for the highchair, it may be better for babies who are prone to frequent spit-ups or leaky diapers since it is easier to wipe clean than the plaid side.
There is a white divider near the edge of the seat to prevent babies from falling. In addition, the safety belt has two fasteners that attach to a crotch strap. There is a small white snack tray for the swing.
In theory, the Swing 'n Meals is capable of 3 speeds. When we first began using our swing, Low was the fastest speed, Medium was very slow, and High didn't work at all. I called Fisher Price, and they sent a replacement motor. This motor worked in Low and High, but after about 3 months of nightly use, Low became High, and High became Low, and then after a few days of that, it would only work if the swing was empty-- even with fresh batteries. I called Fisher Price again, and since they had no motors in stock, they sent me a replacement Swing 'n Meals so I could return the one we have. The new motor works only marginally better, so I'll probably have to request another replacement before the 1 year warranty expires.
It's pretty easy to convert the Swing 'n Meals from swing to highchair. I pretty much figured out how to do it before I read the directions. There is a silver button on each side of the seat. The buttons need to be pressed simultaneously in order to move the swing to the higher level, which brings the top of the seat a few inches higher than the top of the frame. There is a white footrest below the seat. This needs to be moved forward as far as it can, and there is a blue lock on each side that keeps it from swinging. Simply add the large meal tray (the directions state that the snack tray must not be used with the highchair.)
To convert the Swing 'n Meals from the highchair to the booster, you simply lower the seat back to the lower position, and keep the footrest locked in place. It is used without a tray so the child can eat at the table. We haven't tried this mode yet, since the twins only recently began to use the highchair, and my preschooler is too big to test it out. However, it looks like the frame would keep the baby a little too far from our table, which has the legs close to the edges. At our table, it would allow too much food to fall on the floor, but it would probably be a better fit at a table with a pedestal.
Conversion from Swing to High Chair
Converting the Swing 'n Meals is easy in theory. You simply press the little silver button on the left with one hand, press the button on the right with another, and while pressing these buttons simultaneously, use your other hand to push the seat upright and slide it to the highest position. If you don't have three hands, you can use a knee to do the seat sliding... or better yet, ask for help.
There are two blue knobs on the bottom of the footrest that lock the footrest to the frame, preventing the high chair from swinging. These are pretty easy to lock and unlock at will.
I would love to recommend this product, however, the motors are of such poor quality that I can't. I sincerely hope that Fisher Price manages to fix the motors, or that they extend the warranty to five or six years... unless of course they want their customers to need a new swing for each new baby.
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