My daughter had a Bumbo seat. It’s that molded-foam chair that only fits your child if they don’t have thunder thighs. Mine was pushing it. She gets it from her momma. But she had a bright blue Bumbo seat that would sit on our kitchen floor while I did dishes or cleaned or prepared a meal. Her Bumbo had a tray table, where she would eat puffs or play with Tag books. She spent a whole lot of time in that seat.
So it is with some regret that I announce Bumbo is recalling over 4 million baby seats after injuries from falls. The South African company that makes Bumbos is recalling seats sold from August 2003 to August 2012 and sold in Babies R Us, Sears, Target, Toys R Us, USA Babies, Walmart and through online retailers. In other words, if you have a Bumbo, it’s being recalled.
Since the products last recall in 2007, there have been at least 50 incidents where children fell out of the chair on a raised surface. 19 of the injuries included skull fractures. Additionally, there have been 34 accidents where children fell over while on the floor or an unknown elevation. Two of those incidents involved skull fractures. During the last recall, the product was brought back to add more warnings instructing parents not to put the seats on raised surfaces or leave children unattended in the seats.
In some ways, I’m obviously glad that the company is bringing back dangerous products. Obviously, the multiple warnings they have on the seats aren’t getting the message across. I think we can all agree that one skull fracture is one skull fracture too many.
But there’s another part of me that feels moderately sorry for the company in this situation. I had that Bumbo. I saw those warnings. Having an infant in any seat that doesn’t strap in on a raised surface is dangerous. Parents know that. Having children in baby seats and leaving them unattended is dangerous. We know that too.
The problem, of course, is that every child device on the market has warnings about not being left unattended. My baby swing with the 5-strap harness had warnings about not leaving babies unattended. I’ve actually seen pack-n-plays with warnings about not leaving children unattended. (Apparently we’re supposed to watch our children nap now, to make sure nothing happens while they sleep.) But moms have to get showers, make dinners, refill the wipe containers spread out all over the house, and maybe even do some laundry so that those cuties have adorable outfits for strangers to coo over. Moms need something that they can walk away from for a couple minutes.
If every piece of equipment you have says that it cannot be walked away from, moms start ignoring those warnings. And they obviously do so at their own peril. That’s when accidents happen.
Bumbo, for all it’s ingeniousness, could not make a product that kept kids safe when parents walked away. Eve worse, the mold foam doesn’t allow it to be strapped to a chair like other baby seats. It’s a seat made for kids on the ground when mom is nearby. It’s a place for your child to sit while you fold those onesies. It’s a chair to keep them upright while you shovel peas and carrots into their mouths.
Or at least, it was. That’s what Bumbo was for me. Now, after the second recall in five years, we’ll have to wait and see if the company can bounce back again.