Bumbo chairs aren’t safe for US and Canadian kids, but are OK for UK babies
If you don’t know what a Bumbo is you probably don’t have a child under the age of 8. And if you don’t have children but do know what a Bumbo is, your neighbours probably ought to report you.
In simple terms, a Bumbo is a moulded foam child seat that looks like a potty but is actually a chair for small babies who cannot otherwise sit unaided. Now, the Bumbo International Trust in South Africa is recalling over 4 million of these seats in the US and Canada over safety issues.
However, no recall on UK and European models has been made. And we wondered why. We feel there are two ways of reporting this story- it’s a bit like a choose your own adventure book…
The Daily Fail way
UK babies must have harder skulls than our North American friends. This is the only explanation for why the Bumbo International Trust has seen fit to recall 4.3m child seats in America, but allows UK babies to continue using a product that could cause injury and skull fractures.
That’s right. Since 2007, there have been at least 50 reported U.S. incidents in which babies fell while the moulded-foam seat was on a raised surface. Nineteen of the incidents included skull fractures, according to the company and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and there were another 34 incidents where infants were hurt while sat on a floor or an unknown elevation. Two babies suffered fractured skulls.
US and Canadian consumers have been advised to stop using the product until they install a free repair kit, which includes a restraint belt and a new warning sticker, and never use the Bumbo seat on an elevated surface. UK babies, on the other hand, have to fend for their own tiny selves, risking severe injury at every turn.
We think this is disgraceful and that someone should do something about it while we grumble loudly. Won’t someone please think of the children?
The other way
If you leave a child unattended in a high place, chances are it could fall off said high place and hurt itself. If a baby lands on its head, it may well fracture its fragile skull. Unfortunately, this requires a recall of parents, rather than a recall of an inanimate plastic seat.
In the US, around 1 million Bumbo seats were recalled in October 2007 so that the packaging could be changes to provide more warnings against use on raised surfaces. The current Bumbo seat has several warning labels on the back. Seats made since 2008 have another label on the front warning against use on raised surfaces. However, it appears most Americans can’t read and have no common sense.
Despite the multiple injuries suffered by American kids, only five incidents have been reported in Canada, resulting in just three minor injuries, according to Health Canada. Despite the fact that the same type of seat is sold in both the US and Canada, we can only conclude that US Bumbo models are way less safe that Canadian seats and that it has nothing to do with the parent operating the seat. Far easier to recall millions of child seats than to educate a nation.
So there you have it. You can either demand a seatbelt and warning sticker for your plastic seat, or you can decide not to leave your baby on top of something high while you go and do something else. Your call.