Lawsuits Allege Poor Safety Record for Bumbo Chair

A number of lawsuits have been filed in the past year against Bumbo, the makers of a molded plastic chair designed to support babies as they learn to sit upright.  The most recent, Reuters reports, involves a family whose 9-month-old child suffered a skull fracture after falling out of the chair, which had been placed on a table.  The new suit comes after a 2007 recall, which resulted in the company adding warning labels to the product, and a November warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that placing the seats on elevated surfaces place children at risk.

The most recent lawsuit alleges that Bumbo has not taken extensive enough steps to make their product safer–the warning label simply cautions against placing the seats on elevated surfaces–and that the retail chain Toys ‘R Us was negligent in stocking an item that is known to have safety risks.

Bumbo argues that the instructions that come with the seat are clear, and that if used as intended, the product is perfectly safe.  “The Bumbo baby seat is a safe product for infants when it is used as intended: on the floor and never on an elevated surface,” the company said in a statement. “Children should always been closely supervised when they are in the Bumbo seat.”

But Ross Cunningham, the attorney for the family of the 9-month-old, says in the lawsuit that there are a number of safety precautions that Bumbo could and should have taken to prevent injuries:  “Specifically, Bumbo could have incorporated any combination of the following design changes: made the Bumbo Baby Sitter wider at the base, raised the side and back walls of the seat, installed a bulbous pommel on top of the post in between the child’s legs, and incorporated a safety harness, seatbelt or other securing device…that would sit low and tight across the child’s hips. These, and possibly other design improvements, would have prevented a child like (Colby) Ferrell from falling out of the Bumbo Baby Sitter.”

(Image via: http://bumbo.com/)

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  1. by Leeanna Blancarte

    On December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I think the parents have the full responsibility of supervising their child on this bumbo seat.if they wanted a safer method then they should have purchased a high chair.dont blame the company for your poor parenting skills and not supervising your child correctly.

  2. by Hilary

    On December 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    This INFURIATES me. Parents should be held accountable for their own lack of common sense. It’s not the chair’s fault a parent is being lackadaisical and not monitoring their baby. Use your brain, idiots!!!!!!

  3. by samantha

    On December 16, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    This is ridiculous that these people are suing the bumbo company for their own stupidity. Notice I said people instead of parents. Real parents use common sense and are responsible enough not to leave their child unsupervised even for a second. The company shouldn’t have to pay for their careless reckless and not to mention dangerous lack of decision making skills.

  4. by Megan

    On December 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Seriously! We have a Bumbo chair and it states on the box to never leave your child unattended. I’m sorry their child was injured, but at sometime they will have to look at themselves and ask, how could this have been prevented? I can’t watch my girls every second, but I can take action to baby proof and make sure they are in secure areas.
    My tot almost tipped over backward in her booster last night. I have no intention of suing FisherPrice because my kid almost injured herself. Let’s get real here!

  5. by NJW

    On December 16, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    It’s utterly ridiculous to blame the product for the parents blatant neglect of their child. While it is sad that the child was hurt, the parents should take responsibility for their part in it. It’s common sense to never leave a child on top of a table or any elevated surface for that matter. The parents ability to care for their child should be in question if they are stupid enough to sit a 9 month old on a table & leave them unattended.

  6. by Christen

    On December 17, 2011 at 9:25 am

    You have GOT to be kidding me. This doesn’t even make sense. Surely a judge will throw this out, because it IS perfectly safe when used properly! My daughters have both used them and we have NEVER had a problem. But at 9 months old?? That’s too old in my opinion. Once they can sit up on their own, they wouldn’t WANT to use the seat anymore. There are so many “parenting fails” to this story- and not ONE of them is the Bumbo company’s fault! And to say that TRU is negligent?? REALLY? What happened to parents doing research and reading instructions? I understand that this family is in pain and they are struggling. But they have to understand that this was their fault.

  7. by Sarah

    On December 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Christen I was thinking the same thing, 9 months old is far too old to be using a bumbo seat. my son is 10 months old and walking, there’s no way I would even think about leaving my child unattended in a bumbo. This is a parent fail, not a product fail.

  8. by nikki

    On December 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    prince lionheart’s bebepod is similar but with safety straps…problem solver-they even exchanged bumbos for their product for free during their promotion!

  9. by Amanda Vega

    On December 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Just a quick update – the chair has had a recall reminder as of late as the injuries due to the lack of straps has increased to well over 50 injuries to children. If you have a Bumbo chair and would like it replaced for free, Prince Lionheart who is a competitor to Bumbo, has a safer version of the chair (with straps to prevent wiggling out of the chair) is doing a campaign to replace up to 1,000 Bumbos with their bebePOD. If you want more info you can email us at amanda@brilliantbabyproducts.com. Disclaimer: we are Prince Lionheart’s PR agency for this promotion.

  10. by Reghan

    On December 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Is the Bumbo actually called Bumbo Baby Sitter? I’ve never heard that before and it’s not supposed to be a babysitter. It’s a chair that should be used while your child is supervised by an adult. I think it’s terrible that this baby was injured, but it specifically says not to place it on elevated surfaces. Parents need to be responsible and follow directions.

  11. by Janice

    On December 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Reghan, I think it’s called a Baby Sitter as in it helps the baby sit. Not that it can take care of the baby. I’ve never heard it been called that, either, but regardless of the name you don’t leave your child on a table. It’s a shame, this is a really useful little chair that was great for us to use while on the carpet in the living room or bedroom to read books or play patty cake and such. I don’t think it was ever really intended to be used as a high chair, and if you’re going to make it be something it’s not, you have to take extra precautions. Like not leaving your child on the table.

  12. by Bookworm

    On December 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I figure common sense would tell you NOT to put the chair on an elevated surface, especially if you’re not right there behind them to keep them steady. I’m playing a somewhat active role in assisting with my niece, as my brother’s fiance died shortly after she was born, and I’ve learned through my time with her that you need to be very careful. Babies are tricky little things and you need to keep a constant eye on them and you NEVER put them in places where the chances of things go wrong with become higher, such as in a Bombo on a table. This lawsuit should be thrown out.

  13. by Kay

    On February 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    For crying out loud! The instructions in the package say to NOT place the Bumbo on any surface other than a soft floor. Not on a table, a chair, on concrete, or in water. This accident is the parent’s fault for blatantly disregarding the safety warnings.

    The ONLY thing they could do to make it safer is weight the bottom and add a “seat belt.”

  14. by Jay

    On March 11, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Why is no one charging the parents with negligence? Or some form of child abuse?! Geez!!! What’s wrong with people today? It states on the Bumbo and the packaging not to leave the child unattended or to place the Bumbo on elevated surfaces!

    People need to wake up and start taking responsibility for their actions!!!

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