The seats have been used by plenty of parents, but how safe are they?

Bumbo seats can be a lifesaver for parents. The foam seats help to keep toddlers upright before they have the core movement strength to maintain a sitting position on their own. But are these seats safe? We’ve got the details.

It had rave reviews from parents. . . at first

Initially, parents really liked their Bumbo seats. Made of dense foam with a high, softer back and holes for legs, parents liked how it allowed their child to remain in an upright position at a much earlier point than they would otherwise have been able to. After all, at just a few months old, babies are learning a lot about the world based on what they can see and hear, and while positions on their back or enjoying some tummy time are good for them, they appreciate other vantage points.

Flickr_ Mark Doliner

The seat proved to be a convenient way to station baby when they weren’t napping, and parents wanted to get things done around the house. The baby could be placed nearby and watch as mom did housework, cooked, or carried out other daily tasks.

Some parents also found that a Bumbo seat was a nice alternative to a highchair. If the baby was already in the seat and they needed to be fed, no position movement was required. Lastly, the seat was extremely portable and easy to bring to another home where you knew you’d need a high chair, but none was around.

Professionals warn of trouble with Bumbo seats

Though parents were initially excited about Bumbo seats, after some time, it became clear that there were drawbacks to the product. The manufacturer advises that as soon as babies can keep their heads upright, they can be safely placed in the seat. However, child development professionals have cautioned that while the seat works because it restricts movement, this kind of restriction can actually hinder a baby’s development. They believe that time in a Bumbo chair gets in the way of a child’s natural progression of movement development that includes time on their back, getting better at holding their head, and tummy time.

Child development professionals have cautioned that while the seat works because it restricts movement, this kind of restriction can actually hinder a baby’s development.

Instead of allowing children time to experience their natural progression of development on a floor mat, some experts believe that the seat does the opposite. The soft foam wraps tightly around legs, and while it doesn’t necessarily cut off circulation, it does restrict natural movement. This restriction can be especially notable for chubbier babies. Also, while the child is wedged into the seat, they’re not able to actively practice developing their trunk control, and they’re not experiencing weight bearing on their joints.

There may be safety issues with the Bumbo seats

If you purchase or are gifted a Bumbo seat, you’re likely going to be given some safety warnings. For example, just as with other baby seating options, the Bumbo seat isn’t supposed to be used on a tabletop, from any other kind of height, or in an area near soft objects that could cause suffocation. Generally, the seats were known to be responsible for skull fractures, and other injuries as babies fell out of them.

There were at least two recalls of the Bumbo seat, one in 2007 and the other in 2012. The manufacturer adjusted the structure of the seat to include seatbelt-like restraint harnasses.

As a result, there were at least two recalls of the Bumbo seat, one in 2007 and the other in 2012. The manufacturer adjusted the structure of the seat to include seatbelt-like restraint harnasses. The company also provided a warning sticker that reminded parents not to use the seat on higher surfaces, which would add to any kind of dangers from falls.

What parents are saying about the Bumbo seat

So, what are some parents actually saying about their Bumbo seats? One parent reported on her experience, noting that while she did decide to ultimately use a Bumbo seat, she was taking the concerns about how it might affect her baby’s physical development into account. She also talked about the fact that the manufacturer’s timeline for when to start to use the seat seemed entirely too early for her. At the same time, she didn’t feel that the total timeframe when she’d make use of the seat was quite as long as the manufacturer suggested.

Other parental responses to the seat are decidedly mixed. Some parents are staying away from them altogether. Others continue to love the convenience and use them in a variety of ways but are keeping a closer eye on their child as they use the seat. Overall, as with many other childcare decisions, the choice about what to do is up to the parent, and the approaches to it will be as different as anything else in parenting. It will vary but, ultimately, each family will find out what is right for them.

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