Safety agency recalls popular Bumbo baby seats
About 4 million Bumbo Baby Seats were recalled Wednesday after at least 84 incidents are reported in which babies fell, among them more than 20 are skull-fractured.
This is the second recall comes five years after when 1 million seats were recalled to add a warning label about using the seats on raised surfaces, which was how most of the new incidents took place.
Bumbo International, the South African maker of the seats, said it would provide owners with a repair kit to add a strap to secure babies in the seats — something consumer groups had been advising for months. The seats are used to support up babies to sit before they can sit up on their own.
Because it’s neither an infant carrier nor a walker, the Bumbo seat isn’t covered by any federal standards, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission does have the authority to recall a product if it isn’t covered by a safety standard and “presents a substantial product hazard,” agency spokesman Scott Wolfson said in March.
Nancy Cowles, executive director of the advocacy group Kids in Danger, questions the need for the seats at all, as they are only recommended for babies from the time they can hold their heads up until they can sit without any support. Says Cowles: “It might be better even with the fix to pass on this product.”
Cowles and the Consumer Federation of America’s Rachel Weintraub recommend parents instead select for infant carriers or bouncy seats, as both are covered by voluntary safety standards that require them to hold back children.
Weintraub says adding restraints to the Bumbo seats is “significant” but says, “Too many children were injured while using this product.”
Erika Bowles, who is moving to Richmond, Va., just had a yard sale and sold the Bumbo seat she used for her daughter, who is now 3. Bowles says she never felt comfortable with the seat after learning of safety issues and seeing how her daughter could tip backwards in it. “It wasn’t worth the space of saving for potential baby No. 2 ,” Bowles says.
The Bumbo seats, priced between $30 and $50 each, were sold online and at stores including at Walmart from August 2003 through August 2012.
As of Wednesday, all new Bumbo seats will contain the restraint belt. Some seats still in stores may include the restraint repair kit, but most will have it already attached, Bumbo says.
In February, the company said that “it is important to distinguish between seats with and without the additional warning added in 2007 to evaluate the efficacy of the additional warning.” But the 84 reports of falls occured after the 2007 recall.
Order the free repair kit at http://www.recall.bumbousa.com or call (866) 898-4999 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT on Friday.
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