Parents of infants got a blow this morning with news of a Bumbo Floor Seat recall, set in motion by the Consumer Product Safety Commission's report of falls leading to 21 baby skull fractures.
The recall affects about 4 million Bumbos--the popular floor seats made of lightweight foam that enable babies to sit up on their own at just a few months of age. But the CPSC says that infants can wriggle out of the seats and fall.
Bumbo's D.C.-based spokesperson has not returned email questions from Yahoo! Shine about the recall. Meanwhile, its USA distributor, Keen Distribution, is fielding calls from concerned parents, and has an operator answering with a new greeting: "Thank you for calling the Bumbo Baby Seat recall hotline."
It's the second recall for manufacturer Bumbo International Trust, based in South Africa. The first, in 2007, recalled about 1 million of the seats for a warning label that cautioned against using them on raised surfaces.
That didn't stop me from putting Bumbo on my shower registry and using it frequently for my daughter, born in 2008. I loved how it allowed her to see the world from an upright position--and how it let me cook dinner, get dressed and, let's face it, sit on the toilet without balancing her on my knee. (I even tempted fate by using it, I'll admit, on the kitchen table from time to time--though I didn't take my eyes off her.)
This recall, though, asks parents to stop using the seats until calling in for and receiving free repair kits that include a restraint belt. It says, in part:
Bumbo International Trust is conducting a voluntary recall to add a restraint belt and new warnings to the Bumbo Baby Seat. Infants can maneuver out of or fall from the seat, posing a risk of serious injuries…. Consumers should stop using their Bumbo Baby Seats immediately, and complete the order form to obtain a free Repair Kit. The kit includes a belt with a new warning sticker, installation instructions, proper use instructions and a new warning sticker.
That's a big bummer for parents who love the unique, strap-free quality of the Bumbo--though, according to a quick and unscientific survey of my friends with little ones, it doesn't seem to be the most alarming news in the world.
"I will definitely keep using it," said Julia Rodriguez, a Michigan mom to 5-month-old twin girls who often needs to set one baby down while tending to the other. She says she will consider calling in for the repair kit, though she isn't rushing to do so. "I can't even lay them down now without watching them, so it's just like anything else."