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Bumbo Fail

Bumbo Fail

Years ago, when my child was an infant and barely capable of rolling over, a friend brought over a brightly colored object that kind of looked like a toilet aid. It was a “Bumbo,” as this friend exclaimed with all the self-evidence you would lend to something like a Teddy bear or a pencil. I still needed a bit of clarification. Turns out this “Bumbo” thing was this nifty foam-like contraption that was molded to your infant’s behind and allowed them to sit up (even if their core muscles were not anywhere near developed to accomplish such a task) and presumably converse with you about nationalized health care and the perceptible gains of women’s rights in Afghanistan.

As you may have guessed I was deeply skeptical and felt strongly that if an infant were to be sitting up, they should do it when they are good and ready, not when they were wedged in a modular seat. Well, as much as I enjoy being right, I was right.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled Bumbo — which had a long run with a product line that netted bazillions of dollars — due to the fact that these Bumbos are extremely unsafe. A four million Bumbo recall has been announced because at least 50 infants (since 2007) have suffered skull fractures after popping out, or capsizing, while lounging in a Bumbo. This, to be sure, is not the first recall to hit Bumbo. In 2007 there was a less substantial recall to the product to simply provide a warning label that reminded parents not to use the Bumbo on “raised surfaces” (like atop a bookshelf or on the roof of a SUV). However, this did little to make Bumbos as safe as we all wanted them to be. Now, with the pressure of the CPSC, the Bumbo corporation is issuing a recall and providing wanting parents with a “safety belt repair kit” that is said to address the danger.

Do you have a Bumbo? If so, have you had any close calls or concerns? Do you feel this recall came about 5 years too late, or am I being unjustly hard on the Bumbo people?

Skull Fractures Prompt Bumbo Baby Seat Recall

Image: jcheng / Flickr

Read more: Babies, Blogs, Caregiving, Children, Conscious Consumer, Family, Parenting at the Crossroads, Pregnancy, Product Recalls, Smart Shopping, , , , , ,

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.


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9:59AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Buying things for babies should be research by parents first, and use common senses.
I saw that object or bumbo in one of my friends house, guess what she is getting a call from me right now, with this link.

2:01PM PST on Jan 9, 2013

I agree with sandy! should products really be recalled? or the parents? The majority of these products are quite obviously not meant to just sit baby in and walk away (bumbo chair, that adorable wooden high chair, the green pillow recliner). Watch your baby!

1:36PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012


9:25AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

I think it's pretty obvious that this chair should only be used if the child can hold it's head up on it's own (sitting up position. There is no head support for the chair, thus it should not be used for a child under the age of about 4-5 months) up to the point where it is squirming to get out of the chair. Most parents should know this.

4:57AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

I saw a lot of them, but I didn't wanted one on my birth list. I think a little baby should lay down until they want and can sit by themselves....

1:37AM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

WHY does this "author" joke about a child's ability (?) to "...converse with you about nationalized health care and the perceptible gains of women's rights in Afghanistan" ... If, indeed, such a topic might interest a child sitting in a "Bumpo"? How is this FUNNY?

12:33PM PDT on Aug 20, 2012

Pay attention to your babies and there shouldn't be a problem. A seat belt will not help with "stupid".

11:36AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

I lead a sheltered life ... I'd never heard of a Bumbo!

10:25AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

I never saw one until my son was too old for them but they always seemed like a bad idea.

7:28AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

I personally do not know much about the Bumbo seat. All I want to comment on is that at a young age as these children are someone should be watching and supervising them to keep them from hurting themselfs.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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