Serious Head Injuries to Infants Prompt Infant Seat RecallPublished by Randy Dufresne in Defective Design, Product Defect
Reports of three children fracturing their skulls after falling out of the popular foam Bumbo “Baby Sitter” seats have prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall approximately one million of these seats. The CPSC has received 28 reports of young children falling out of the seats including the three who were seriously injured. Those accidents happened when the seats were placed on a raised surface such as tables or chairs. The CPSC notice says: “If the seat is placed on a table, countertop, chair or other elevated surface, young children can arch their backs, flip out of the Bumbo seat, and fall onto the floor, posing risk of serious head injuries.”
The chairs are constructed from a single piece of molded foam and come in a variety of colors. The seat wraps completely around the back of the baby and a crotch post at the center front forms two leg openings. The bottom is round and flat. The recalled seats were sold over the past four years, beginning in August 2003, at Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, USA Babies and at other toy and children’s stores nationwide, including online retailers, for about $40.
Bumbo, on its web site, advertises the seats as “a snug and cozy environment for your baby” and recommends the seats for infants from six weeks old, who can hold up their heads without assistance, up to babies 14 months old or weighing as much as 22 pounds. A warning appears on the back of the seat that says:
“Never use on a raised surface. Never use as a car seat or bath seat. Designed for floor level use only. Never leave your baby unattended as the seat is not designed to be totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement.”
As a remedy, Bumbo is offering parents new instructions and a more-strongly worded warning label sticker that states: “WARNING – Prevent Falls; Never use on any elevated surface.” The company says the seats do not need to be returned. However, they are being temporarily removed from store shelves until the packaging can be updated.
In our opinion, it is completely foreseeable that parents or others would place this seat on a table or chair. Other booster seats often have straps to attach them to the chair and a belt or strap to secure the child. This seat has neither and a simple warning may not solve the problem. We wanted the public to be aware of this potential for serious injury.