If you’ve ever been to a public park or playground, you will have noticed that the baby swings on the swing sets have four leg holes. These swings have been around for years and, while the material they are made from has advanced, their design has stayed the same. After all, if it isn’t broken, why fix it, right?

But why do baby swings have four leg holes? Baby swings have four leg holes in order to allow the swing to give holes to support both legs and to give proper balance and support for the torso and back for the child. Additionally, since the two pairs of leg holes vary a bit in size, you can also put your baby’s legs through the holes that fit them the best.

Why do Baby Swings have Four Leg Holes?

Baby swings in the bucket style often called tot swings, are equipped with four leg holes. While some parents may believe that this means the swing is made for two babies to swing at the same time with their backs together, it is not. In fact, placing more than one baby in a baby swing is very dangerous and should always be avoided.

There are three reasons that these swings are designed with four “leg holes.”

  1. The way the leg holes are situated around the four corners of the swing allows for the child’s legs to be placed in two holes and the child’s torso and back to be supported fully by the other two holes and the back of the swing.
  2. The two holes on one side of the swing are a slightly different size than the two holes on the other side of the swing. This allows a parent to place their child’s legs into the leg holes that best fit their legs while the remaining two holes add support for the body.
  3. The four holes allow for drainage of any water that accumulates with rain and morning dew, which prolongs the life of the swing and prevents accidental wet bottoms from baby swings.

Generally, there are three kinds of 4-holed tot swings available on the market.

Swing TypeUseRecommended Age
Tot Full Bucket Rubber SeatCommercial2 to 3 years old with adult supervision
Infant High Back SeatCommercial6 months to 23 months old with adult supervision
Tot Full Bucket Polymer Infant SeatResidential2 to 3 years old with adult supervision

There are different guidelines for baby swings that are made for commercial use, as in playgrounds and parks, and for residential use in private yards. However, the 4 leg holes in each seat remain the same for all bucket baby swings, and adult supervision is always required while a child is in the swing.

Full Bucket Swings Appropriate for Infants and Toddlers

If you are looking for a suitable bucket swing for your infant or toddler, the number of swings on the market can be a bit overwhelming. However, if you know what to look for in a tot swing, then your search is much easier.

Residential Tot Swings

This High Back Full Bucket Toddler Swing 2.0 by Squirrel Products has extremely effective pinch protection technology and a patented ergonomic design that makes it a wonderful choice for your baby. Not only are the chains coated in plastic, but the metal connectors on the bucket swing itself are coated, giving extra pinch protection. Other features include:

  • An easy-grip handle in the front of the seat for your tot if they are not yet able to grip the chains
  • A durable backrest that is extra strong and sturdy for proper torso and back support
  • Can be put on a swing set, hung from a tree, or even extended from your front porch

Wiplay’s Full Bucket Toddler High Back Swing is another great and more affordable residential swing option for your little one. It’s constructed from high-durable co-polymer plastic and galvanized steel, so it’s very durable, heavy-duty, and resistant to rust. The high back and plastic-coated chains make it safe for your baby.

Commercial Tot Swings

To ensure your baby’s safety on public playgrounds, look for swings built like this Outdoor Baby/Toddler Full Bucket Swing by Blue Rabbit Play. Its construction is incredibly strong for constant use. It’s made from injection-molded EPDM rubber with a metal reinforcement plate placed within for more durability. The chains are made of stainless steel. It follows all regulations regarding outdoor playground equipment, and the full bucket design provides the proper support for your little one.

If you find yourself at a public playground with your baby and there are no baby swings available, this Portable Baby Swing Attachment for Infants and Toddlers by BabySwingSling is an amazing contraption that allows you to make a baby swing out of a regular swing. You just place the portable swing attachment to the park swing and make sure to connect all the reinforcements. The portable swing keeps your child safe and steady. It can hold up to 50 pounds!

Additional Swing Safety for Young Children

Establishing proper behavior around swings and swing sets is another way that you can ensure your little one stays safe when swinging. Not only is having a safe swing important, but respecting other children that are swinging around you and inspecting the swing and swing set your child is about to use are also important.

Some necessary safety guidelines to teach your child (and to follow yourself) include

  • Do not walk in front of or behind swings that are in use.
  • Do not play with any loose structural parts like ropes and chains or debris on the ground.
  • Do not jump from swings.
  • Do not kneel or stand on or inside of swings.
  • Only one child should swing on a swing at a time.
  • Sit down or in the swing properly and hold the ropes or chains with both hands for support before swinging.
  • Only use full bucket swings for infants and toddlers.
  • Always supervise children while they are in or on swings.
  • Always inspect swings and swing sets before letting your child swing. Look for:
    • Rust, breaks, or cracks on the seat or chains
    • Chains that are not coated and can pinch fingers
    • Loose hooks holding the swings
    • Unsteady swing sets
  • Make sure that swings are placed at least 2 feet from each other and at least 30 inches away from the sides of the swing set.

One major difference that you will find between tot swings in a residential setting and tot swings in a commercial setting is the distance they must sit above the ground. Residential baby swings must be a minimum of 8 inches above the ground to allow your little one’s legs to hang without touching the ground. As your baby grows, you raise the swing to accommodate their leg length.

In a commercial setting, tot swings are required to sit 24 inches above the ground because they are not going to be moved to accommodate growing children.

In Conclusion…

The four-leg holes that are present on baby swings have a purpose – to ensure the safety of your baby and provide proper support for their body. These tried-and-true swings may look odd, but they have allowed babies and toddlers to experience the joy of swinging for years. If you are in the market for a swing that is suitable for your child from infancy to toddlerhood, full bucket swings with four leg holes are definitely a great choice.