Bumbo baby seats shot on to the world market eight years ago and have become a staple on baby registries and nurseries around the country. The seats — pictured above — are just molded plastic that are softer than a high chair and firmer than a bouncy seat, making it easier for babies who cannot yet sit up themselves to, well, sit up.
More than 4 million Bumbos have been sold since 2003, when the baby seats were first introduced to the U.S. market. But the South African company that makes Bumbos has also come under fire for safety concerns that have led to serious injuries — such as skull fractures — in babies. And now the company faces further scrutiny for failing to address and adequately report the safety issues that have been noted.
In 2007, Bumbo baby seats were recalled after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took reports that the seats had caused 28 serious injuries, including numerous skull fractures. Bumbos were reintroduced with warning labels on the seats that said they shouldn't be used on elevated surfaces (many parents were using them at the time to seat baby upright in the middle of say, the kitchen table or the bed.)
But a recent lawsuit has uncovered 300 reported incidents detailing injuries received as a result of Bumbo use. And last fall, the CPSC warned parents against using the baby seats as there had been another 45 incidents since the recall, as well as 18 older cases that had only recently been discovered. According to CPSC records, the injuries occurred both when the product was elevated and when it was on the ground.
A company statement released by Bumbo's U.S. attorney, Tarush R. Anand, assured consumers that "[t]he Bumbo baby seat is a safe product for infants when it is used as intended: on the floor and never on an elevated surface," the statement says. "Children should always been closely supervised when they are in the Bumbo seat."
But many parents argue that this still isn't enough, and they are angry that the company hasn't taken steps, such as installing a seat belt or making the base wider, that would correct the safety issues and make the seats safer for babies to use.