When is A Bumbo Seat Safe Enough?

Hi Folks! Just read about this warning regarding Bumbo Seats — little seats that look even safer than normal seats because there’s a big, hmmm, I guess “bumbo” in front of the crotch, wedging the child in. (See below.) About 4 million — that’s 4,000,000 — have been sold. And now they are being recalled for retooling — basically adding a safety belt — after reports of 2 baby skull fractures. (Two, that is, while the seat was on the ground. Another 19 occurred when the seat was on a raised surface and presumably the child fell out or off.)

Now, look, nobody wants a baby’s skull fractured. (Do they?) But listen to this quote in USA Today:

“Too many children were injured while using this product,” says Consumer Federation of America product safety director Rachel Weintraub. “The fact that the manufacturer is changing the product by including restraints is incredibly significant.”

It is INDEED significant, in that it indicates that any manufacturer can be coerced into a product recall if someone insinuates that without it, the manufacturer DOESN’T CARE ABOUT BROKEN BABY SKULLS. The specter of a lawsuit, or boycott, or just a glaring TV talk show host is enough to make any company quake in its booties.

But when something is safe 99.999% of the time (I’m sure one of you will do the actual math), is that not SAFE ENOUGH? As the reader who sent me notice of the recall said, “Why don’t we recall laps, while we’re at it?”

Well? Why DON’T we? After all, laps are non-standard, germy, and once in a while there’s a cat vying for the same space. Unsafe! Unclean! Unfair! Let us officially recommend parents come in for an emergency lap repair kit allowing a neighborhood surgeon to graft a restraining belt onto all adult tummies.

Oh — not willing to have a belt grafted on? I guess you don’t CARE about babies’ skulls. – L.

 photo

Wow does that seat look extremely unsafe.

82 Responses

  1. A 99.99995% safety rating really isn’t good enough, is it?

  2. too scary dangerous!! L Lenore Skenazy Author of the bookand blog, Free-Range Kids Host of Discovery/TLC International’s “World’s Worst Mom” (the title is ironic!). Here’s a 2-minutesample. Busy twittering atFreeRangeKids And while we’re at it, also author of the trivia book that puts the fun in short term memory loss:”Who’s The Blonde that Married What’s-His-Name?” 646 734 8426(cell)

    ________________________________

  3. So 20 injuries from 4 millions bumbos sold over 5 years is too many? We used the bumbo seat for both of our boys, and I can’t see how the product could possibly be any safer? Any kind of injury would have to be from the kid tipping over, so how does adding a lap strap help. Wouldn’t you have to glue it down (with baby safe glue of course) to keep anyone from tipping it over. I don’t understand how this is possibly justified.

  4. Depends on whether your baby has teh laser thing going on or not……http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5dPMtuZsCw

  5. It doesn’t matter if 4,000,000 babies have been using this product without incident. By now we should all know that one hangnail, cut finger, splinter, stubbed toe, incidental contact with a sharp edge, choking incident, skull fracture, kidnapping by a stranger, or death is one too many. The Bumbo people should include a roll of bubble wrap to put around the baby before putting him in the seat.

  6. Actually, such seats ARE unsafe, but adding a strap won’t help. It’s not healthy for a normal baby to be forced to sit before it’s ready. And when it’s ready, it won’t need anything artificial. Have you seen a baby sitting? They’re the best sitters in the world! Great posture! If they slump, folks, they’re not ready to sit. Laps are much safer, even without restraining belts, because no adult tolerates holding a constrained, confined baby for as long as a device does.

  7. I agree with Linda: the argument shouldn’t be over adding a strap but whether parents should even place their kids in these seats to begin with. Have you ever weighed a baby’s head? It’s HEAVY. I’m surprised only 20 babies have cracked their skulls… Babies aren’t meant to sit up until they’re ready to do it on their own.

    If Free-Range is about giving kids freedom, then it should also be about respecting their freedom to develop at the pace that nature set for them, and not push them into unnatural positions that impede their movement and place undue stress on their developing bodies.

  8. Bumpo seat = the most ridiculous baby item we received anyway. We registered for it, thought it was necessary and great. Never used it. Gave it away. Would never want another one. So many other more comfortable options for baby.

  9. I’m next in line to agree with Linda. I never used them for any of my 4 children because it seemed like when the baby was ready to be sitting up they would do it on their own. Why the rush? They are only that tiny for such a short time.
    I also wonder if those who used them and had injuries were using them properly (Those who had them on a raised surface weren’t) and if the children were the appropriate ages/sizes for them.

  10. We bought ours on a garage sale. And I took a ton of flack for it because they had been recalled before that so that safety warnings could be put on the boxes. (DO NOT PLACE SEAT ON ANY HIGH SURFACE!) It’s been passed on to the next person. So at least three babies have gotten some use out of the darn thing.

    As for putting him in before he was ready? He wouldn’t stay in. It mostly got used once he could sit on his own to have a nice little snack of cheerios without making me crazy. It totally immobilized my kid and was much appreciated since I couldn’t afford a baby pen like my mother had.

  11. I never had one of these. Have seen a few, but didn’t know what they were. That said, my child was in a car seat – you know, the kind you bring in and out of the car before they are old enough to be in the regular seat. One day I had put him in it, stuck it on the floor, and didn’t buckle it. You guessed it, he somehow vaulted himself forward and bonked his head and cried. I got over it and so did he.

    Yes, had this been on a table or something, it could’ve been worse. BUT STUFF HAPPENS. We’re all rushed. We can’t be super human, super parents 100% of the time! I’m not perfect and neither is any other parent even if they want to believe they are. We will NEVER ever completely remove risk from our children’s lives. We’re HUMAN! We make hate to admit, but we are fallible.

  12. Everything has risks. My babies loved sitting in the Bumbo, and my last kid did fall out of it once, bumped his head, and he was fine. I didn’t let him sit in it any more after the one incident. BTW, he was also crawling out of his crib at 18 months and I couldn’t do anything about it, other than put him in toddler bed (also considered unsafe). I guess at that point I was supposed to strap him on my body at night while I remained in the standing position?

  13. I bought one of these back in 2006 before they were ubiquitous and found in Targets everywhere. I had to order the dang thing from a specialty website. My older daughter loved it, we used it on the floor for playtime before she could sit up well on her own… never once did I think about putting her on a table in it to use as a feeding chair. I took it out again in 2011 when my younger daughter was born and we happily used it on the floor until she grew bored with it – then we passed it along to a friend who I hoped would be able to pass it along as well… I don’t understand how a belt is going to work on the thing but again, don’t put it on a table people!

  14. I think Bumbo seats are contrary to a Free Range philosophy. They force your baby into a position they aren’t physically ready to sit in. Once there, the child is unable to do anything except sit and stare at things. The kids I met who spent large amounts of time in them were oddly placid with floppy legs that laid flat instead of squirming and kicking around like normal babies do.

    A blanket is the best bumbo chair for a free range baby. Give them some toys to play with and let them stretch whatever muscles they want to stretch. Sure, they won’t be able to see as much as the Bumbo baby at first, but they will strain to lift their heads up and look around. A little bit of frustration combined with curiosity is actually good for a baby.

  15. Sorry I wish I could edit my reply to add this. Too many people are leaving their kids in bumbo chairs and other devices so much that there is a new condition called ‘Container Baby Syndrome’ where a child physically and neurologically suffers from being strapped into a chair and unable to move for long periods of time.

  16. But declutterfly, many parents do not leave their kids in containers such as a Bumbo for long periods of time. All my kids are neurologically intact. They spent more time in a car seat in 5 point harnesses than they did in the Bumbo. Perhaps parents shouldn’t travel for more than 30 minutes in a car at one time?

  17. I heard about this recall and the cracked skulls from kids up on high surfaces and my immediate thought was “weren’t they already recalled for that?” I guess Linda recalls the same thing. They certainly were slathered with warnings by the beginning of 2011. A friend bought one for me. I read the warnings, looked it over, and I traded it in for a booster seat. I didn’t see the point for something that would only be any good for a few months, couldn’t be safely strapped on to a chair for feeding the little one, and didn’t have a tray. But my sister found that the bumbo seemed to make her little one happy at that age where they really like sitting on people’s laps but can’t quite sit up on their own.

    I do wonder about the two cases on the ground. Was it on an uneven surface? Was there a rock where the kid’s head landed? Was the kid just big and strong enough to rock the thing over all on his/her own? I’m sorry for the little kids who this all happened to, but what strap could save a kid from the thing tipping over on the ground. And/or the parent putting it up on top of a table? This sounds like 2 freak accidents, and 19 cases of careless errors leading to accidents. Whatever strap gets added, I’m sure the accidents will keep happening. 21 injuries in 5 years sounds like the same low threshold the FDA is using to say parents should use teething gel… though they included adults in their count. http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/ucm250024.htm Of course… scare parents off the teething gel, because Tylenol with it’s 400-500 deaths per/year is so safe.

  18. Don’t be silly. A few minutes here and there isn’t a bad thing. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the injuries in the Bumbo cases were caused because the parents wanted to leave their kids in it for hours at a time unsupervised. That’s not free-range. That’s container living.

    I know of parents who need to leave their kids unsupervised and are afraid to just leave them on a blanket and think they need an expensive product to keep them safe. Yes. You need to leave your kids and not watch them. Yes, they can get frustrated and cry being on a blanket. Yes they tend to be quieter being left in a chair. But they aren’t safer. And I think many parents have a misconception that it’s safer and the baby is happier being left in the chair all the time.

    If you were playing with your baby while they were in the seat on the floor, they wouldn’t likely fall out and break their heads. You wouldn’t need to strap them in to make sure they didn’t fall out. Please don’t take my comments and stretch them out to absolutely ridiculous proportions.

  19. I didn’t. You began a conversation about a disorder that could be related to a Bumbo. I was pointing out that the same disorder could be contributed to a kid having to ride in a five point restraint for long periods of time.

  20. I have to two things to mention and that is all that is needed to be said.

    “Lawn Darts” and “Chris Farley”.

    Seriously though this is stupid. My wife has been wanting one of those bumbo seats and I have kept telling her later because we are tight on cash right now. I have been thinking they are stupid. Of course I do not understand the baby stuff. So a couple of kids got their skulls fractured out of four million users. Is it possible the parents were to blame because they put a kid to big or small in those things? I am sure there is a weight limit and weight minimum that is safe. Could the babies that had their skulls fractured been too young to be in those seats? I am sure there was nothing wrong with those seats. I am thinking it was a user error. The sad fact is most americans have no idea what personal responsibility.

  21. It was, as we say in the Health IT biz an, ” ID 10T” error.

  22. @mom of three boys. Sorry about that. I think I got sensitive because I totally forgot that my daughter had to sleep in a car seat for the first three months of her life. She had terrible acid reflux and colic and had to sleep sitting upright.

    I knew this woman at the library story time who kept her kid in a car seat so long that her baby needed skull surgery to fix his flat head. Whenever I stuck my daughter in her car seat to sleep I was constantly obsessed with container baby flat head. I was shocked that some people just chucked their kids in chairs all day long.

    I think because kids tend not to cry when they are strapped in tightly and cry more when they are left on the floor, it’s tempting to leave them in the chairs all day. I don’t think Bumbos are inherently dangerous, but I think they get misued as containment devices – where you can just plop them in and clean the house all day without a care in the world.

  23. I did the math for you, Lenore. 21 injuries out of 4 million products means no injury 99.999475 percent of the time.

  24. I think that making the leap that parents who use Bumbos leave their child in it “hours at a time unsupervised” is unfair.

  25. What bothers me most about the bumbo is that it’s not good for babies. Babies shouldn’t be forced to sit up until they’re ready.

    I don’t think that adding seat belts is going to help. It’s like those changing pads that have belts on them now- you put baby in it, buckle them in and when they writhe around, they’re just going to bring the entire thing onto the floor when they fling themselves down. I’m sure the bumbo will be the same way- flying baby, with bumbo seat attached.

  26. Logistically, how would that work, exactly, to leave a baby in the bumbo for “hours”? Babies that are the right age for bumbos are in the bumbos because they can’t even sit up by themselves. They sit in it for a few minutes, and then they cry because they want mommy, they want a change of scenery, they pooped, they need to be fed, they’re tired, etc. No one who owns a bumbo think they are to be used to sit your baby in their for “hours” while you CLEAN all day, for pete’s sake. At least come up with something realtistic, like sitting on the laptop reading Facebook posts and blogging. Many of my mommy friends (myself included) own a bumbo and still have it, either because they have a baby that is using or keeping it for in case they have another baby. They are useful, like a swing is useful or a jumper: something for the baby to do for a few minutes until they’re sick of it and want something else. But nobody believed that the seat belt was borne out of a fear for the baby’s safety, but rather the company’s fear or lawsuits because of a few accidents. We all knew instinctively (before reading that a total of 2 floor accidents and 19 tabletop accidents) that most of the accidents would come from adults putting the bumbo on a table or counter top and then the baby tipping over.

  27. We used the Bumbo with our second child, and she loved it. We always put it on the ground and we used it for stuff like brushing our teeth, i.e. the only way I could brush my teeth was to put her in the Bumbo outside the bathroom door so she could watch me. We took it with us on picnics and to the beach, and it was a real help to not always have to be holding her. When she got older and was able to sit up on her own, we still used it for teeth brushing; but this time it was for her own teeth. She’d sit in it for a good ten minutes while my mother-in-law and older daughter brushed their teeth too.

    She did fall out once, but it was when she was older and stronger and was reaching for a toy. But I watched her almost fall out a couple of times when she would arch her back and wiggle around. That was my clue that Bumbo time was over.

  28. I have an idea – let’s pick apart and scrutinize my post instead of acknowledging the realities of container baby syndrome. Yes that’s helpful. And yes, I think containering your kids is against the free range philosophy. There’s a reason there’s a difference between veal and free range cattle (Waits for nitpicker to find place that sells free range veal)

    http://www.nbc-2.com/story/15348969/health-matters-avoid-putting-your-baby-at-rsk-for-container-syndrome?clienttype=printable

  29. Actually I wonder about those two cases of skull fractures. Years ago I went to a workshop about child abuse at a local hospital. One of the examples they gave of suspicious stories were those about children falling out of their cribs and getting skull fractures or broken bones. They said that in the hospital’s entire 100 year history there had never been a case of a skull fracture or broken bone of a child who had fallen out of their crib in their hospital and they had tile floors, not carpet which is often the case in homes.

    This obsession about safety really is sad.

  30. How are these product recalls free range issues? What a business decides to do in response to the market has nothing to do with my choices about raising my child. I think these keep popping up because people are looking for battles to fight at every turn.

    While we’re speaking of battles, how about we respect others parenting choices as much as we want our own respected and stop attacking each other in the comments.

  31. I have always been baffled by the Bumbo phenomenon. One more thing to take up space and waste money on, as far as I could see. I agree with the poster who said the blanket was the best Bumbo, or something like that. We just laid our kid on the floor–sometimes on a blanket, sometimes on the hardwood floor. And sometimes under the activity gym, where he could be entertained enough by swatting at little stuffed animals that I could get dinner made.

    Interestingly enough, by 4.5 months, my son rolled out from under the activity gym and and started army-crawling around the house.

    Just put ’em down and let ’em squirm and wiggle and find the motivation to do whatever it is they want to do themselves.

    No child is going to be deprived or harmed by the lack of a Bumbo.

  32. @Helynna… your suspicion made me thing of another product recall and a back stories on one of those incidents. As many recall, there was a big deal about recalling baby walkers because of kids falling down stairs in them. One of my college classmates admitted that when he was much younger, he had opened the gate and pushed his baby brother down the stairs in a walker. He of course lied to his parents about how his brother wound up down the stairs. He told me this by way of saying not to worry about my nephew getting a walker.

    As for the crib falls, I think it is a bit of a fallacy to compare hospitals to homes. I have yet to see a hospital with random stray objects on the floor. Where as a kid’s bedroom in a home is frequently littered with toys. The pressure point of the corner of a hard object contacting bone at high speed increases the chance of injury when compared to the distributed force of falling on a hard floor. Also a smooth hard surface might allow an arm or leg to slid away more easily than a carpet, perhaps reducing the rates of broken arms and legs over hard surfaces rather than carpeted surfaces.
    Perhaps I have a vested interest in believing that my father’s broken arm was simply because he climbed out of his crib and feel wrong, rather than that his over protective mother or dearly loved father did something terribly wrong. But I’ll submit that the hospital’s child abuse workshop had a vested interest in seeing abuse wherever a probability existed. So the world is full of non-neutral observers.

  33. I wanted one because I had babies who wanted to be SITTIN’ UP MOMMY I WANNA SEE before they could actually sit up, and due to physical problems I couldn’t just wear them so they could be up with me. A Bumbo seemed to be a nice way to let the baby be upright for a few minutes while my lap was unavailable. But we had nowhere to put the thing while not in use because our house is very small.

    2 injuries while in use at a safe height, out of more than a million babies, sounds to me like the odds of (for example) falling off a horse that is standing still and landing at an angle that breaks your neck in spite of your helmet and your training. Yes, it happened to Christopher Reeve, but we aren’t outlawing riding horses because of it.

  34. how did two babies get skull fractures by falling out of a bumbo when it was on the ground anyway? on the GROUND? think about it … from a fall that was probably less than 2 feet? an actual fractured skull? I am very suspicious …

  35. My mom thinks I’m a nutjob for not having a baby cage crib thingie. Apparently, we all more or less lived in 4 feet square of space when we were little so that she could get stuff done. She put my oldest in one when I was off doing something else and he had a blast. She was tending a burning of old sticks and leaves around the property. My brother and nephews were working on improving their house. The older kids were down at the lake playing in the water. He could see everything going on, had his own little set of toys to play with and stayed out of the three most dangerous scenarios around him while grown ups got grown up work done. Did he stay in there for 8 hours? Of course not, the minute he clapped eyes on me, he wanted to be picked up and held. Before he saw me, i could see that he was thoroughly enjoying himself. And even if I hadn’t shown up, someone else would have taken him out when they had time to properly supervise him.

    It is unfair to assume that the only reason that a person would own a product like this is simply shirk their responsibilities as a parent. I think a kid does have to learn that the whole world does not revolve around them. All the better to find their own way to amuse themselves while stuff gets done. Or observe that stuff getting done so he’ll know what to do when it is his turn to do it.

    Making that immediate connection that if someone owns it, the kid lives in it is as bad as it being given a safety feature that will do nothing at all. Not all parents are negligent awful people.

  36. I had my babies before the Bumbo was invented. I don’t know that I would have used one, though. First baby never crawled, just would sit there like a little Buddha completely content with eating a book or blocks. Next babies were usually worn on me as I was chasing first big baby everywhere…honestly, it’s all a blur it seems like it went so fast.

    Call me a dumbo Bumbo but it’s just for a baby to sit in? I don’t care if you buy it or not (with or without the new seat belt) but this thing couldn’t possibly be safer if used on a flat surface. It looks like a booster seat but with back support.

  37. Yeesh! Some people are way too uptight and looking for a reason to be serious. Siiiiiigh. (This just happend on a blog post of mine, too, so I comiserate. Aaaargh. Please, tell me everything wrong with what I write! HALP.)

    I think the 2 sitting on the floor and fracturing their skulls were actually on a raised surface, but the parents were to be embarassed to be honest. I mean, I would have totally said, “No! He was on the floor! Not the coffee table! I AM A GREAT PARENT.”

  38. What I don’t understand is how parents get suckered into buying these things. Your baby will sit on his/her own, quite sturdily, once s/he’s good and ready to do so. No need for a stupid piece of molded plastic at all. Before that, you will just have to be resigned to holding the baby in your lap or in a bouncy chair or some sort or – perish the revolutionary thought! – put him/her down in his crib for a nap or to sleep through the night. I also don’t understand how adding a safety belt makes these things any better, since I think the danger comes when the baby is big enough to stretch themselves rigidly lengthwise, as babies are apt to do, and have sufficient strength to topple the whole contraption over backwards. It never does to hurry a kid’s natural development, and this only proves it once again.

  39. How does one get into a career preventing freak accidents? Seems like there is plenty of money to be made…

  40. “But I wouldn’t be surprised if the injuries in the Bumbo cases were caused because the parents wanted to leave their kids in it for hours at a time unsupervised.”

    Really? Because the one time my daughter launched herself out of her bouncy chair (we never had a bumbo) was when I was playing peek-a-boo with her and ran to grab the ringing phone. I think she wanted to see where I was going and fell out. Good to know that some judgmental anonymous person on a website believes that I must have left my child alone in a chair for hours unsupervised for this to have occurred.

    I’ve never known a single Bumbo owner who left their children in it, or any other device, for hours at a time. I’ve never known a single baby who sat idly in any device for hours at a time unless he/she had already been taught that his/her crying and fussing would go completely ignored. I don’t doubt that it is happen but a few cases of abuse should not cause a ban of an entire product. If it did, we’d all be sitting in empty houses staring at blank walls because everything has been abused by some people somewhere.

    As for the recall, I’ve never understood the interest in the Bumbo seat but whatever. 99.999% safety for any product is fine.

  41. @declutterfly, I don’t think anyone said that “container syndrome” does not exist or wouldn’t take it seriously.

    What I think is being picked apart is your blanket assumption that anyone that owns and uses a Bumbo leaves their kid unsupervised for hours on end. It doesn’t sound like you have any proof of this, other than what you think, and in my opinion that statement deserves to be picked apart. You are being unnecessarily judgemental.

  42. @declutterfly, no problem🙂 My kids also slept in their car seats for the first couple of months because they would.not.sleep.on.their.backs! And they liked it. That was only at night. Day time I let them tummy sleep because I was there with them. Now let the hailstorm come for allowing such poor parenting as that😉 Like you, I didn’t want my kids to get a flat head. THAT ain’t natural, lol😉

  43. It does not look unsafe, but it looks weird. Of course, that is only an opinion.🙂

  44. Really, it’s only a 99.999475% success rate, Laura. You should never exagerrate safety claims, especially when there’s a CHILD AT RISK! (In case it’s not painfully obvious, I’m joking.)

  45. Has there ever been a baby that was sitting independently, fell (or flung/arched backwards) and wind up hitting their head just the right way to have a skull fracture? I wonder. My husband fainted and wound up with a skull fracture and significant head injuries- just the way he fell…

    As for the kids who fell from a hight from Bumbo, could have happened if they fell off a changing table (or even a bed )…

  46. I have a blanket assumption that anyone who has a Bumbo leaves their kids in it for hours? WOW I had no idea. Thanks for letting me in on how my own mind works, Next time i think I have an opinion on something, I’ll ask you first.

  47. Never had one for my 4 because I am also of the mind that baby will sit (with that beautiful, adorable perfect posture) when he or she was ready.

  48. I hate to say this but it says right on the damn box that the item is not intended for use on table tops or counters but only on the floor. While I think it’s unfortunate that 20 or so children were injured because of falls from this seat, the two that were being used properly are the only ones that have a leg to stand on.

    We used one when our son was small and he was not able to climb out of it. I can see how he could have tipped it over because he was a wiggly little thing…but that would have happened just as easily with some sort of safety belt in place.

    So, yes, two children with skull fractures is two children too many but adding a lap belt won’t change that or prevent it from happening again.

  49. My favorite stupid recall of all time: Infant seats that tipped when carried and the baby fell out. Ask how many of those babies were WEARING THE RESTRAINT? My guess would be zero. So, they made the handle tip-resistant…another acclimation to parental stupidity.

  50. Our son is 5 1/2 months old. I have friends who have Bumbo’s and I couldn’t see the point. He would be in it for at most 2 months, it seemed to be trying to force his development, and we have a perfectly good floor. He spends a lot of time on a mat on the floor and is really good at manoeuvring himself to see what he wants to see in twists and wriggles. We hang toys off the airing rack above him or put them next to or on him and he’s happy. If I really need two hands and he wants to sit up I prop him in the corner of our deep sofa and sit next to him while he watches.

    Incidentally the other Mum’s at my coffee group are amazed at how strong he is and how well he sits. I attribute it to letting him develop on the floor, and not trying to do too much too soon.

  51. Incidentally our baby nurse told us that falling over while learning to sit strengthens the core muscles that eventually enable babies to sit so it really hinders development.

    Also Bumbo’s are safe. Unnecessary but safe.

  52. I could sit my oldest child (this was before Bumbo) on her bottom on the kitchen floor when she was quite small (this was an amazing and wonderful thing) and she could sit upright for a hour or so happily chewing on toys and looking at board books (she was even more stable in the middle of our bed). When she got tired is when she would fall over (little “bonk” on the head, no tears) – but I don’t have ceramic tile floors (now THAT would scare me). I always moved her around and in different seated or laying positions; even sometimes put her in one of those sling seats IN HER CRIB (oh dear! but with the rail up) for a short time so she could look at her mobile from a different vantage point. Those sling seats are only good until the child is old enough to start flinging themselves forward (“bonk”); same as a Bumbo. Had a Bumbo for the second (who could roll off a bed way before he was supposed to be able to!) – it gave me another option (on the floor, OF COURSE) for a short time until he could throw himself out of it. I think they’re being recalled b/c they were so much more popular than sling-on-wire-frame seats, even though the same thing could happen with it if not used wisely. We used the sling seat that was mine, from 1963, with a new fabric cover and belt made for it! And a new one for the basement; same design 40 years later. The old one was more robust. Agreed that a seatbelt is NOT going to make it “safer”

  53. I agree, it looks a tad uncomfortable, especially the crotch area. I believe the child should have enough “growing space there” atleast.

  54. as taradlion stated I think you would have to compare all head fractures from independently sitting children to work out if the seat is more or not dangerous. I’ve seen bruises from kids falling over and onto a toy, flinging themselves backwards and hitting a table, changetable oh the list goes on how kids hurt themselves. Bumbo’s could be alot more dangerous or they could not be any more dangerous than sitting on the ground…….

    I didnt have bumbo’s (only invented by my last 1-2 children) but plenty of my friends have them and they are sometimes a handy tool

  55. Whatever happened to the idea of a parent or other responsible adult watching their kids? Too many parents are busy pointing their fingers at others when something goes wrong.

  56. I’m surprised no one has mentioned why the manufacturer is installing the seat belt: Once the design defect has been revealed by the children’s injuries, it becomes much much much easier for parents of later victims to successfully sue the manufacturer on the basis that their chair has a known design defect that can cause a serious injury.

    The fact that the injury is rare just means that it will take awhile for the later victims to show up in court. You can plan on them suing you unless you (the manufacturer) does something about the (now) known design defect.

    So either they fix the problem or stop selling the chairs. And they have to deal with the existing chairs too. Each one is a lawsuit waiting to happen. See http://www.ashcraftandgerel.com/practiceareas/product-liability-personal-injury-lawsuits/ for an introduction to the law.

    Personally I agree with the point that children are already well designed for their job of being children: they don’t need these chairs, knee pads or lots of other things sold as conveniences for the parents or “aids” for the children. We aren’t using them with our twins. But that’s just our parenting style choice. Your’s may be different and that’s fine.

  57. There was no injury 99.999475 percent of the time.

    This is deemed that it isn’t safe enough. That’s ridiculous.

    I personally wouldn’t have one because I agree with the argument that children shouldn’t sit up until they’re ready. That’s not the point.

    The point is the hysteria that generates around child safety that overrides common sense.

  58. I cracked my skull open when I was a baby. I had to have the back of my head stitched and stapled. I was spinning around in my grandfathers office chair and leaped across the room trying to fly like Superman. I was about 3 years old when that happened. I learned my lesson and did not do that that again. However I did leap off the sink and needed to be checked out because I hit the bathtub. They never recalled sinks or office chairs, nor did my family get CPS’d for something I did. I am sure there is more to this story than what they are telling and I do not think it is the bumbo seats fault. I do not think it is good for babies ot be sitting up before they are ready either.

  59. Must confess, if I’d known these existed when my oldest was a baby, I might have bought one – that baby in the picture looks soooo cute! Though bouncinettes do pretty much the same job. And even though it’s totally irresponsible, I can sort-of appreciate the temptation to put the baby in one on a raised surface – at one stage the only way I could get the dishes done in peace was to put my 12 month old up on the bench beside the sink so he could see what was going on….Baaad mother! Anyway luckily he didn’t fall off.

    @declutterfly, I was interested in your comment about the baby having skull surgery to correct a flat head. I left my first sleeping on one side too much, so I could look at him – dewyeyed mum! – and he ended up with an odd-shaped skull, which just corrected itself over time. He’s 15 now and the skull looks normal. Surgery seems a little drastic – did this kid have developmental delays because of it or something?

  60. I wonder how many accident reports are fudged by parents who actually made a poor choice they are unwilling to admit. I mean, if that seat was on the floor and the kid managed to whack his head from that height, how different is that from just sitting on the floor and arching back? Should it now be illegal for kids to sit on floors? Or was this really a case where the seat was on something higher and the parent, who knew this was not a safe place to leave it, won’t admit his mistake? Or worse, was this child injured in some other way and Bumbo is taking the blame?

  61. A lap is an illusion anyway..
    I’ve been annoyed by every negative report about Bumbos. Mostly because the folks are using them on improper surfaces. My little man was too skinny and too tall for his. When he was short enough for it, he would just slump over to one side, and I’d have to use a blanket or towel to hold him up. When he was stocky enough to sit in it himself, he was too tall for it, and could push it backwards with his feet (although he never fell out, PLUS I was actually a smart parent and only used it on the FLOOR).

  62. I never got the point of the Bumpo…it seemed like one of those pointless baby gadget money makers, like the wipes warmer and the diaper genie thingy.

  63. Crazy nuts. Appropriateness aside, the ridiculousness of getting up in arms about this and (I am sure) demanding a product recall is astounding. Do babies fall and injure themselves? Sure, but by and large babies bounce and are fine in a few moments. When our first was almost a newborn I bent over to grab a new set of pants from the changing table, and met him on the way down as I was straightening up. I caught him by one leg as he passed me. I about peed my pants, but he was fine. (By the way that was in the days when changing tables didn’t come with seat belts and mama carried baby on her lap or in a carrier next to her on the seat.)

  64. Oh, by the way, I am one of those nurds that do the math, and the actual number is 99.999475%😎

  65. We used it with our 3 boys, but only for brief periods of time. By the time our 3rd came along they had a snack tray for it. We ignored the recall for the sticker and we occassionally put it on the table. The trick is to be actively engaged with your baby the whole time he is in the seat. When on the floor you can walk away to answer the phone, on a table you have to take him down 1st. Personally, I like the bouncy seats better and don’t think the Bumbos are worth the money because there is so little you can do with it.

  66. I have used the Bumbo for three of my kids and am now expecting another child and will use it again. I will not take it in for the recall because I think it’s perfectly fine the way it is. I’d like to know how a child fell out of one on the floor and cracked their head because that close to the floor, they’d have to hit pretty hard. Makes me wonder if the Bumbo really was the cause of it in those two instances.

  67. Ding dong, the Bumbo’s dead! What was an elegant design is now a joke. Even with a lap belt (seriously?) you can still knock it off a table or throw the dang thing across the room baby and all. Any device used improperly can be unsafe. Hopefully Dad is ready to catch during a game of Nerf baby. I’m joking, of course. This news was a perfect example of what is wrong with the entire American mentality regarding litigation and child-rearing – all bubble-wrapped together in a neat and comfortable package.

  68. If they really cared about safety instead of litigation, they would add 2 foot long outriggers on each side to stabilize it and suction cups on the bottom to prevent slipping. But then it would be ridiculous, if it wasn’t already.

  69. Every once in a while I pop back over here to see if things have gotten better with the commenters on this site. But no, parents, whether free range or not, are still the most sanctimonious, judgmental, navel gazers on the planet.

  70. ^^^ said with much humility, I’m sure, Cheryl😀

  71. 1. A Bumbo seat is NOT horrible in every situation. For babies like my daughter who get horribly mis-shaped heads from the way they sleep (I’m sure I’ll get blamed for that, too) they are wonderful things to give their skulls time to re-inflate on their own and not end up needing helmets. (she’s two now and has a gorgeous little cranium full of curls, thank you very much, Bumbo)

    2. Variety is the spice of life. I’d hate to live my life, even for a few months, constantly stuck in a lying-on-the-floor position. Nothing says 20 minutes sitting upright once in a while is a bad thing, if for no other reason than a different perspective.

    3. I’m pretty sure I remember the ‘instructions’ for the Bumbo stating it should NEVER be used on an elevated surface. I hate those people who use products in ways totally contradictory to their intentions, and then throw a hissy fit when something goes wrong.

  72. […] this sort of thing that makes me think our civilization is doomed: Hi Folks! Just read about this […]

  73. you know, if there were two cracked skulls there were probably many hundreds or thousands of bad head whacks and minor concussions. the way these things fail, while on the floor, is that the baby suddenly tries to wiggle out by doing a full back arch as fast as they can. i’ve seen it – i was surprised and abruptly realized that the our own cute little bumbo was really quite unsafe.

    these things are basically something that seemed like a really great idea but turned out to not be. oops.

  74. Thanks, declutterfly, for the link. I’ll add it to my arsenel. 🙂 Here’s another one on the dangers of Shackles for Babies. See especially the comments from the pediatric physical therapist.

    No one would advocate not using car seats when they’re needed, but they do hold babies in unnatural positions, which is one reason why it’s so important for babies to be free to move when they can.

  75. Oh, good lordy. Now babies have to be able to move ALL THE TIME? What about wearing your baby, which has been proven to be one of the most beneficial ways of treating a baby? They’re restrained!

    For the record, I wore my babies most of the time, put them on the floor when I had to to do something without them, and then used a Bumbo with my youngest because she loved it. No harm, no foul. There are multiple ways for a parent to raise a child, and any parent paying any attention to their kid will not let them get deformed heads or toneless muscles or whatever.

    Can these Mommy Wars stop now?

  76. I tried my oldest in one at a store when she was about 4 months old. She was/is a very petit child and when I put her in it she immediately tipped herself to one side and popped right out. We all laughed and I said obviously this is not the right chair for my kid.

  77. I’ll admit to having a Bumbo for both my oldest and my current baby. My (now) 3 year old loved to sit in it, after she was able to sit up on her own, and eat cheerios off the snack/ toy tray. We got it back out for my new baby, who is 6 months old. He sits up on his own pretty well already, but I’m not above sitting him in it on the bathroom floor for 10 minutes while I shower. Incidentally, once my 3 year old saw her brother sitting in it, she promptly decided to try it out again. Amazingly, she still fits in it. It was hilarious as all get out watching her try to get back out, though.

    Personally, I’m not sure if I’ll bother with the recall. I think they’re another product that requires some supervision and common sense for safe use, but I think that they work for their intended purpose (in my house, anyway).

    On a somewhat related note, my sister just bought a new crib. On it is a large sticker proclaiming “NEVER leave baby unattended!” What the *&^% is a crib for then?

  78. Every time I see a recall like this my blood boils. The CPSC is so inefficient & wasteful. I am so tired of these idiot recalls. I agree that products need to be safe, but consumers need to use common sense & take some responsibility for their actions. I purchase a Bumbo over 5yrs ago when my oldest was a baby, the first couple of times I used it I though it was great & all my friends had them & loved them. My son didn’t like being confined & started to arch his back I thought he was going to flip himself out so I returned it. I tried it again for my youngest and the same thing happened. While I don’t think it’s an unsafe product I didn’t feel it was safe for my kids. I watched my child & because I didn’t feel comfortable with them using it I returned it. No cracked skull or recall necessary. I suspect that people also use it for children that are too big or too old. There was also a huge stroller recall recently http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12232.html I found out that there were similar recalls for other brands as well. This is a recent recall involving a baby death in 2004 & an injury in 2006. First I want to know why it took until 2012 (eight & six years later) to do anything thing about this “dangerous” stroller. Second i think the only way this death & injury could have happened is if the babies were left unattended for quite some time. The CPSC seems to be an inefficient waste of our tax dollars.

  79. I wanted to use the Bumbo for my daughter because she would cry everytime I would lay her on her back. Turns out, she couldn’t fit in it even at 3 months old. Oh well. She sat up by herself just as she turned 5 months old, so maybe it was a good thing!

  80. If the kid is big enough to get out of the bumbo, and break his/her head, why is he sitting in it in the first place? Also, if the kid is that big, what good is a safety belt going to do… keep the seat attached to the kid’s bum while they topple over?
    This is just another example of parents not wanting to take responsibility for their actions.

  81. […] I’m kind of with Free Range Kids with my view on the product recall. About 4 million — that’s 4,000,000 — have been sold. And […]

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