The CPSC acknowledged that Baby Bumbo Seats are associated with safety problems and issued a typical warning in November concerning the product’s risks; however, safety advocates feel the Commission should do more. The Commission, explained Boston.com, relies on negotiated, cooperative collaboration with companies, which it said has not always been easy, action has been delayed since the 2007 recall. In the meantime, noted Boston.com, lawsuits against the manufacturer continue to mount and the manufacturer continues to make Baby Bumbo Seats.
As we’ve explained, the recalled Bumbo Seat is labeled and marketed to help infants sit in an upright position as soon as they are able to support their heads. Product warnings indicate the seat “may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.” Infants as young as 3 months can fall or escape from the seat by arching backward, leaning forward or sideways, or rocking. The defective seats have been linked to a number of injuries to babies who have fallen from the seats, said Boston.com
In November, we wrote that following more reports of serious injuries, the CPSC renewed its warning for Baby Bumbo Seats, announcing that, due to the serious risk of injury to babies, it and Bumbo International Trust of South Africa were urging parents and caregivers to never place Bumbo Baby Seats on tables, countertops, chairs, or other raised surfaces. At the time, CPSC and Bumbo International were aware of at least 45 incidents in which infants fell out of a Baby Bumbo Seat while it was being used on an elevated surface and which occurred after the October 25, 2007 recall.
The initial problem was, explained Boston.com, in how the seat was being used and suggested that it was fine to place the product on elevated surfaces. The recall corrected this issue with a warning that the seats should only be used at ground level and noted that the seat is not restrictive and not constructed with a safety belt. But, injuries to babies continue, even when the Baby Bumbo Seat is used as directed.
“Because serious injuries are occurring when this product is used as intended, and since these injuries involve an alarming number of skull fractures we have grave concerns about the safety of Bumbo International’s Baby Seat,” the consumer groups wrote to the CPSC, wrote Boston.com. “Unlike other products intended for the same age range, such as bouncers and stationary activity centers, there are no safety standards or testing requirements covering this type of product. In addition, manufacturers of similar products have made design changes to address the safety concerns associated with these types of products—a step Bumbo International has refused to take to date,” wrote the U.S. PIRG, Kids in Danger, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and Public Citizen.
As we’ve written, the recall mandated new warnings be placed on the Baby Bumbo Seat to deter elevated use of the product; however, since the recall, the CPSC and Bumbo International learned that 17 infants, ages 3-10 months, suffered skull fractures. These incidents and injuries involved both recalled Bumbo Seats and Bumbo Seats sold after the recall with the additional on-product warnings. Also, CPSC and Bumbo International stated that they were aware of an additional 50 reports of infants falling or maneuvering out of Baby Bumbo Seats used on the floor, but at unknown elevations. This included two skull fractures and one concussion. At the time of the 2007 recall, CPSC was aware of 28 falls with three skull fractures. CPSC and Bumbo International were later aware of at least 46 falls from that took place before the 2007 recall and which resulted in 14 skull fractures, two concussions, and one broken limb.
Approximately 3.85 million Bumbo Seats have been sold in the United States since 2003.