Many parents have embraced the Bumbo - a soft, foam seat that allows their infants to sit upright. However, consumer safety groups are now pleading with the U.S. federal government for a recall, following a number of child injuries in Maine and throughout the country.
An article recently ran in the Bangor Daily News about this very issue.
Our Bangor child injury attorneys understand that there have been nearly 100 reports of infants being hurt while using this product. That is only in the last five years, following a voluntary recall in 2007, when the manufacturer pulled all the seats from the shelves because there weren't adequate warning labels.
At that time, there were 46 injuries reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In 14 of those cases, babies suffered serious head injuries.
After the recall, the South African manufacturer of the Bumbo seat agreed to print warning labels on the side of the seats, saying parents shouldn't put their children in the seats if they are on an elevated surface, like a desk or table.
But that apparently wasn't enough because after the recall, there have been 45 more children who fell out of the seat when it had been placed on a tall surface. Of those, 17 infants had skull fractures. Another 50 babies were said to have fallen out of the seat when it had been on the floor. Of those, one had a concussion and two others suffered head injuries.
Still, the government has given no indication that it will issue a recall, though one official from the safety commission admitted it seemed as if there were a large number of injuries. What's perhaps more confusing is that often times, recalls are issued when there haven't been any reports of death or injury. So why would the government hesitate to recall a product that has been proven to cause injuries to babies?
Even if there isn't a second recall, we believe this warrants parent attention - and perhaps avoiding use of this product, given its track record.
While some might argue the number of injuries is relatively small in comparison to the number of seats sold (about 4 million) you have to consider whether your child's safety is worth the risk.
The Bumbo seat is designed in such a way that it does not have straps or buckles or restraints. There are tray tables that are also available for purchase with these seats, but they are not meant to act as a securing device.
Manufacturers of the seat say it's safe when used as intended, and that parents should be nearby at all times. But there have been numerous reports of parents who HAVE been nearby, and their children were still seriously injured.
In one case, a father in Washington reported his son was seated in the Bumbo seat on the kitchen table. He was right next to him. The boy arched his back, and fell onto the kitchen floor, landing on his head. The baby boy had to be rushed to the hospital, and undergo emergency brain surgery for his injuries. While the child's parents are hopeful he will make a full recovery, they are still watching him closely for signs that he may have suffered permanent injuries.
Contact the experienced injury lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates if you or your child has been injured in a Bumbo Seat accident in Bangor, Portland or in any of the surrounding areas. Call 1-800-490-5218 to make a free appointment to speak to an attorney about your case.
Are Bumbo child seats safe?, By Russ van Arsdale, The Bangor Daily News