Lawsuits Allege Poor Safety Record for Bumbo Chair 29403

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."

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