Tag Archives: baby seat safety

Bumbo Chairs: A Product In Search Of A Problem

The Bumbo chair appeared on my radar in the last 10 years. It seems to me that the manufacturer has solved a problem that does not truly exist.  Get a good high chair, or use a well-designed booster seat that can sit on the floor.  If your child has motor delays, this chair is going to prevent the use of the correct musculature to gain independent sitting.  Whoops!

The Bumbo seems to appeal to parents who want their young infant to sit upright for meals or play as soon as possible. The company’s website does a great job of listing all the benefits of propping up a child who is unable to sit by himself. They are not helping you. They are selling you a product.

If you have a 4-6 month old child who is unable to sit by himself, then congratulations. You have a typically developing child. Make sure your child is spending time lying on his stomach reaching for toys and in your lap learning to balance. Use a high chair that allows you to angle the back to the point at which your child doesn’t fall too far to one side, and use it for short periods at meals and play. Meals at this age are fairly quick and most children want to be free to move.

If you have a 7-10 month old who is unable to sit and reach for toys by himself, then this chair will not assist your child. Using it frequently, instead of building the skills he needs, will probably slow his progress and certainly will not speed up development. It might make him happier if he is frustrated, and might temporarily minimize your concern that he is not developing on schedule. Your pediatrician can review his progress with you if you are concerned. If your child is not able to roll over, and struggles or avoids balancing on your lap at this age, then you may want to carefully review his development with your pediatrician. By this age, those skills should be well established.

All the discussions on the web fall into 2 camps. The first will be families that are certain that this device helped them feed and play with their children, and state that their children loved the chair. Then you have pediatric therapists who, without exception, warn that the position does not promote mature posture and limits the amount of time that a baby can spend in positions that build skills.

The device has been recalled because parents sat children in the Bumbo on tables and beds and children toppled off, injuring themselves. Sometimes severely. Falling out of this chair when it on the floor has been reported and skull fractures have been reported from that position as well. A belt and a warning pamphlet were provided with the last recall, and that action further

A Product That Doesn't Position Your Baby for Success!

A Product That Doesn’t Position Your Baby for Success!

suggests that this chair is not better than a well-designed high chair. It is probably less safe than a good high chair, and suggests less supervision is needed. The opposite is true. Use the Bumbo with the knowledge that is is not solving a problem for your child, and may be creating one.

Nap Nanny Death; A Preventable Tragedy

The infant recliner called the “Nap Nanny” had already been recalled, but another death was reported in NJ this weekend.  The story involves an 8-month old child who was belted in and trapped between the nap nanny recliner and a crib bumper, as per reports in USA Today and other news media.

 Infant recliners are popular and plentiful, but they are not foolproof. Sleepless parents will continue to buy these infant seats and use them in ways that are unsafe due to frustration and lack of awareness. No device is sold with bold warnings about the number of children that die in seats and carriers each year. No parent thinks it will be their child. Until it is.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has clear but poorly publicized warnings about avoiding keeping babies in infant carriers and seats for any extended periods of time. Families need sympathy for the stress they are experiencing, realistic expectations about baby sleep patterns, and specific instruction to avoid placing their babies at risk.
There is a two-part solution: position your a baby in a swaddle or in a sleep sack and nothing else in the crib. Learn to quickly soothe and calm your baby. As a Happiest Baby on the Block educator and pediatric occupational therapist, I teach the Happiest Baby protocol, which includes SIDS prevention and support for parents. Direct instruction with the opportunity to ask questions and practice techniques with an instructor can be invaluable.

Babies older than 4 months benefit from Dr. Harvey Karp’s suggestions for older children in “The Happiest Baby on the Block Guide to Great Sleep”.

The pain this family must be experiencing is unimaginable. My heart goes out to them tonight.