A set of consumer advocate groups has recommended the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall the Bumbo Baby Sitter Seat, a device intended to help babies sit up earlier than they could on their own. At first glance, the product-millions of which have been sold in the United States by the South African Company, Bumbo, since 2003-seems ideal. Maybe even perfect.
The Babies R Us website describes the Bumbo Baby Sitter Seat, available at $44.99 in a variety of colors, as follows:
cleverly designed to support babies and allows little ones to sit up independently. Made from a single piece of latex-free, low-density, lightweight foam, the Bumbo Seat provides a snug and comfortable environment for your baby to sit during feedings, play time or quality time with the family. The Bumbo Baby Seat requires no straps or fasteners to hold your baby in place and helps babies make the transition to sitting upright.
Lightweight, snug, and comfortable? The Bumbo seat was initially a huge hit among parents and its popularity continues today. Yet as ideal and cost-effective as it sounds, the Baby Sitter may be much less than you bargained for.
Complaints about baby injuries from the product, including skull fractures, have been filed for months. The CPSC even issued a warning last November that the seats should only be used at ground level and not on elevated surfaces like tabletops. The warning also emphasized that the product does not have a safety belt. Moreover, the product was already recalled once in 2007 after a series of reported injuries. However, despite warnings, recalls, and products liability lawsuits here and there, serious injuries have apparently continued. The current set of consumer groups advocating recall includes U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), Kids in Danger, and the Consumer Federation of America.
Baby seats, particularly baby car seats, are a highly important concern among parents and consumer safety groups, for good reason. Our sympathies are with the children and parents who have suffered physical and emotional pain due to injuries from the Bumbo seat. We urge parents to carefully weigh the pros and cons of baby seats and other equipment for their little ones before making purchases.
Bumbo recall urged by consumer groups, Boston.com, February 7, 2012
Did Bumbo ignore child safety in favor of profits? Reuters, December 14, 2011