Beware the Baby Bumbo Seat

I am delighted to welcome guest blogger, Rebecca Talmud, DPT! Rebecca is a pediatric physical therapist, and today she is here to enlighten us about baby Bumbo Seats.

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As a pediatric physical therapist I am constantly being asked about different pieces of equipment. What is best for children? What will help them develop, achieve gross motor milestones, interact with peers, and so on? We therapists try to keep up with new products on the market, reading up on the literature and, if necessary, trying out the equipment on our own before making recommendations and suggestions.

One such piece of equipment is called the Bumbo Seat.

bumbo with text“Bumbo”, as it is affectionately called, is a one-piece seat that is made entirely of a low density foam. As you can see, it has a deep seat with a high back and sides, plus there are openings for the legs as well a front support and a safety buckle.

The Bumbo Seat is marketed to help babies sit upright.

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Babies who are too young to sit on their own are propped up by the Bumbo Seat.

The Bumbo website states the following: “The Bumbo Floor seat was designed to seat young babies who can’t sit up by themselves yet. As soon as your baby can support their own head you can seat them in the Bumbo Floor Seat. The seat has many technical design features that supports the baby’s posture allowing them to interact with their surroundings. The Bumbo Floor Seat has received many awards from around the world for its effective and functional design but be aware of copy products that lacks some important features.” [Editor's Note: Babies typically can hold their head steady in supported sitting around 3-5 months old].

As a Pediatric Physical Therapist, I am always mindful of motor milestones, and I use these milestones to guide my treatment and the development of therapeutic goals.

  • Between 6-9 months we expect typically developing children to begin to sit upright on the floor for short periods of time, first using support from hands and later independently.
  • Between 9-12 months, we expect children will begin to gain more control in seated position. When seated on the floor, they will begin to turn their trunk to reach and manipulate toys placed around them.
Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Natural progression of motor skills can be inhibited when babies are placed in Bumbo before they are developmentally ready.

When children are placed in the Bumbo before they are developmentally ready for sitting it can interfere with the natural progression of skills.

Babies rely on different developmental positions to promote activation and control of their various muscle groups, from head control to trunk control to control of the extremities. Children utilize the time first on their back, then on tummy, in sitting, and in standing to gain stability and confidence with their physical being in order to allow them to achieve stability, then mobility, and then gradual independence.

The Bumbo website claims the following: “The floor seat stabilizes the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension. This action, combined with the gentle curve of the seat back that matches the natural curve of the rib cage, facilitates the baby around the lower ribs and trunk for stabilization. The Seat allows for active practice of the head and postural trunk control. It also allows a child the pelvic stability needed to get the hands into the mid line for play. Upright positioning facilitates an improved visual field of the environment, improved respirations and breath control, assists a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux and many other benefits.”

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Bumbo Seats prevent babies from engaging in natural movements important for their development such as active trunk rotation and postural control.

If you actually observe a child seated in the Bumbo, there is no active control being achieved. The child is passively placed in position and then locked in. There is no room to build trunk control or pelvic stability because the Bumbo is fixing the child and thus not allowing any muscle activation or joint movement to occur. The child is basically wedged into the deep seat with his or her legs held at a higher angle then the pelvis. There is no natural weightbearing occurring.

The child has both hands and legs free, so they do not receive proprioceptive input to the joints and muscles. Babies rely on developmental positions (such as pushing up on their tummy or sitting while propping themselves with their arms) to allow for weight bearing across the joints, which provides that proprioceptive input. The access to sensory input from the world around us, be it proprioceptive (body awareness through muscles and joints), tactile (sense of touch) or vestibular (sense of movement) helps create the sensory integration babies require in order to make sense of their bodies and the world around them. By positioning babies in an unnatural posture without access to the sensory input they require for development, we are really doing a disservice and interfering with an important and natural progression of development.

Stayathomepapa.com explains his experience with the Bumbo: “Someone lent me a Bumbo to try out. I thought it was a really cool idea. I sat my child in it around 3 months, and I was thinking, ‘This is great. She can sit there while I practice piano or tabla.’ And then I took a closer look. She looked anything but comfortable. The Bumbo seemed to be almost forcefully holding her in an up right sitting position. My wife looked into it, and sure enough she found many sources that suggested this thing was potentially harmful for her posture, and is likely to delay her ability to sit up on her own. That was the last we saw of the Bumbo. You know, if we can just wait until she’s ready to do stuff, our child will develop just fine. Indeed, at about 5 months she was sitting up on her own.”

The Bumbo is a seemingly convenient option for parents, but is it really beneficial to your child? Why do we want our children to be sitting upright before they are ready? How can they interact with the environment around them, people or places if they are locked in one position, strapped into a chair with no stimulation?

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Development aside, Bumbo seats have proven to be dangerous. Babies may climb out and fall, tip over, or even tumble from raised surfaces, causing serious injury. Warning labels don’t necessarily prevent unsafe use.

Physical development aside, the Bumbo seat has been proven to be unsafe. The first Bumbo seat recall occurred in 2007, of nearly one million Bumbos manufactured from 2003 to 2007, after reports of at least 17 infants falling out of the Bumbo and suffering skull fractures. In August 2012, another recall occurred of nearly 4 million Bumbo seats after reports of 95 babies falling out of the seat and at least 19 infants suffering skull fractures.

A statement from Bumbo itself read, “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. Working closely with the CPSC, Bumbo has determined that the potential safety issue can be readily corrected in the home by adding a restraint belt. In addition, Bumbo is providing a new warning sticker for consumers to attach to the seat to re-emphasize existing warnings against use of the seat on any raised surfaces.”

From examiner.com: “Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement”, said physical therapist Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at Chicago’s La Rabida Children’s Hospital.

“No equipment enhances a child’s motor development; equipment is a ‘baby sitter’ so that a parent can cook dinner, eat dinner or take a shower,” Harper said. “A gross motor skill like sitting is achieved through movement and practice. Children fall out of Bumbo seats because they do not yet have the requisite strength, balance and coordination needed for sitting.”

In a March 2012 Chicago Tribune article, Mary Weck, the clinical coordinator of Physical Therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago addressed the claims Bumbo made in relation to its product:

Bumbo says: “The seat stabilizes the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension.”

Weck says: “Actually, it does the exact opposite. It puts the baby’s pelvis in a posterior tilt, which facilitates lumbar flexion, not extension. That puts the baby’s chest behind the pelvis. Then the head has to come too far forward. It’s no longer positioned directly above the chest.”

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Despite Bumbo’s claims, the seat actually places babies in a hunched forward position.

Bumbo says: “The chair allows a child the pelvic stability needed to get the hands into the midline for play.”

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

Baby playing with hands in midline.

Weck says: “Children don’t need a chair to get their hands in that position. At the age they’re using the Bumbo, they are able to do that in a variety of positions anyway.”

Bumbo says: “Upright positioning facilitates an improved visual field of the environment, improved respirations and breath control and assists a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux.”

Beware the Bumbo Seat ~ Mama OT

When babies spend time on their tummies it provides a strong foundation for the development of higher level visual skills, as opposed to when they are propped in sitting before they are able to sit on their own.

Weck says: “Studies show tummy time is good at stabilizing the visual field of the environment. Research also shows respirations and reflux are better when the infant is prone rather than upright, as long as the baby is in the proper prone position. One reason the chairs tip over is that babies need to move. This chair holds them from getting the vestibular motion they need to give them control of their eyes and other sensory issues. All the benefits you get from moving are inhibited in a chair.”

I hope this article once and for all puts the issue to rest. Bumbo is a no-go.

*Please click here to find out what you can use as alternatives to the Bumbo.

*Please click here to learn how to help babies become independent, functional sitters!

. . . . .

Rebecca Talmud bio picRebecca Talmud is a Pediatric Physical Therapist with her own practice, Dinosaur Physical Therapy, based in Brooklyn, New York. She has a Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy from New York University and works with children from birth to age 18. She enjoys working closely with children, their families and other professionals to ensure the best care for her clients. In her spare time she is a NY Giants fan who loves reading, writing, creating and spending time with her wonderful husband and adorable special needs French Bulldog. Learn more by visiting her business website (http://www.dinopt.com), checking out her blog (http://dinopt.tumblr.com), or following her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/DinosaurPT).

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You may also like these infant-related posts from Mama OT:

How to Play with Your Newborn Baby

15 Toys for Baby’s First Year

Tips for Making Tummy Time a Little Less…Um…Miserable

How to Use a Therapy Ball to Make Tummy Time Easier and More Fun for Your Baby

How to Create a “Yes” Space for Your Baby

10 Tips for Helping Babies Learn to Roll

How To Roll a Ball with Your Baby to Support His or Her Development

8 Ways to Use a Baby Play Table

CLICK HERE to access all infant-related posts ever published on Mama OT!

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Photo Credit 1: US CPSC, Photo Credit 2: Abigail Batchelder, Photo Credit 3: John Wright, Photo Credit 4: Joe Cheng, Photo Credit 5:Jeff Boulter, Photo Credit 6: Joe Cheng, Photo Credit 7: Dana, Photo Credit 8: Brett Neilson

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63 thoughts on “Beware the Baby Bumbo Seat

  1. THank you for this important information. I am the director of an early care and education program. We often find that parents rely on on qwuipment and think that it is best for their babies. It is the developers, manufacturers and marketers that lead parents to believe that spending money on equipment is better for their baby than simply spending tim eiwth them, holding them or playing with them on the floor. In our program we only use chairs for feeding and a buggy for taking children outside to paly.

  2. I used a Bumbo for my twin girls. I never had any issues with it because I didn’t use it as a fulltime option. My girls still had tummy time and I encouraged them to sit up on their own. In my opinion, the Bumbo is a great tool, but you still have to use it in moderation and under close supervision. My pediatrician was more concerned about how often they were in their carriers than je was about me putting them in a Bumbo.

    • Lacy,
      I respectfully disagree with you. The idea that you didn’t use it full time is almost worse. Principles of brain plasticity require consistency in positioning and patterning. Putting a baby in an appropriate gravity situation sometimes, but then putting them other times in a suspended bowl-shaped seat with proprioceptive deprivation will only confuse the nervous system during an important developmental phase. I’m glad your twins turned out fine. For kids with developmental challenges, proper and consistent positioning is important. There is never a reason to use a poorly conceived contraption like the Bumbo seat. Alternatives would be floor time, in a play pen if you need it for safety reasons, and propped seating with a a Boppy cushion IN FRONT of the baby.

      • I used a bumbo with my daughter, and she, too, turned out fine. At three years now she has good posture, great fine motor control, and good balance. This strikes me as a needless and pointless crusade.

        Stop trying to make parents feel bad for not raising THEIR children YOUR way!

  3. My masters dissertation topic was “The use of infant equipment and delayed onset of independent walking in healthy toddlers between 13 and 16 months of age”. Publication of the findings should be imminent. I am so grateful for the fair and objective way this article was written. I am committed to promoting floor time, and working against gravity to promote normal development, rather than all the contrations that are available for babies and toddlers these days. Awareness is key.

  4. A well written blog which I will be sharing with my other physio colleagues. Thank you for summarizing my thoughts.
    Tammy.

  5. I gotta say, I had a Bumbo for my last baby (I had three others and the Bumbo wasn’t on the market yet for them). It looked like a good idea, and we got it and used it later into her babyhood (probably closer to 6 months). She preferred to be on the floor rather than in the seat and I only used it sporadically. To be honest, she made more use of it after she was already ambulatory (she thought of it as “her chair”). They tell you not to use it after they can get in and out of it on their own but she seemed to like it at that stage much better than the age that it was intended for. We never had any tipping problems with it, and I have no idea who would think it was ok to use this on a tabletop, that seems like an obvious hazard to me. We never did get the modification for the seat after the recall, at that point it didn’t seem sensible since she was getting in and out of the seat on her own with no problem.

    • Same around here with my last two granddaughters. They still use it to play with dolls and sit themselves while playing. You can not have a small baby there for long periods, they will get very tired. It is mostly for feeding (after six months) or like running to rest room …answering a phone, anything if your baby is at sight. It is very easy to carry for a Grandma´s house instead of having big equipment. I strongly recommend following what baby can achieve alone. Thanks, Preschool Teacher and Granny, Costa Rica.

  6. Oh I meant to add, it only seemed useful to me when I wanted to keep her temporarily contained, ie. when I was dealing with the other children in the bathtub and didn’t want her to crawl off while I was doing whatever needed tending, just for a couple of minutes. That seems to be the extent of the usefulness of the product to me. In general, I would say that most of the baby equipment that we had for all of our children turned out to be seldom used. There’s a lot of stuff that’s marketed as giving your kid some sort of head start in life, that will supposedly make them more advanced than the other babies. The truth is, the thing that will help you baby develop the fastest is regular interaction with you and their siblings.

  7. My son, who walked very early, used the Bumbo once. Because he was so strong so early, he stretched back until the bumbo tipped backwards! He was about 4-5 months. I never used it again.

  8. It’s annoying to read articles like this and quotes like, “rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement.” Many parents (myself included) use a Bumbo for 15 min here or there when you need to cook dinner, care for another child, etc. You can’t hold your baby ALL the time, and many times babies want to be upright, seeing the world, instead of lying flat on the floor. Maybe Bumbos are not healthy for use hours and hours at a time, but that doesn’t warrant the kind of scare tactics used here.

    • Laura, thank you for taking the time to comment! I understand where you’re coming from, and I hope you get a chance to read Part Two of this post: Alternatives to Using the Bumbo Seat. It can be found at this link: http://mamaot.com/2013/07/17/alternatives-to-using-the-bumbo-seat/. You’re right, we can’t hold our babies all the time, that would be completely unrealistic! I address your concern in the post I just linked to, so please be sure to read it for additional information! Thanks again for stopping by.

      • Thanks for being gracious, Christie. I’m sorry for being overly negative in my comment; I think I was in a bad mood when I wrote this. I did read your part two.

    • I don’t think you sound overly negative here! I full heartedly agree. We used the bumbo for short periods of time maybe once a day or less. He LOVED being in it, and for that matter started sitting up unassisted right before he turned 5 months old (obviously, he couldn’t turn and get a toy or lean over to far to reach for a toy at this age; but he could sit and chew on a toy, or play with his play gym.) I don’t credit the bumbo with his ability to sit up, but it certainly didn’t “ruin” him. EVERYTHING in MODERATION.

  9. I agree with Laura. And I read your “alternatives” and most don’t help, however I did like ball pit in the pack n play. They reason we use a Bumbo is so we can have our hands free for a minute and the baby in one place. Tummy time is great but he has been like that half the day and is frustrated. His baby carrier is in the wash. And obviously I can’t dance with him if I am trying to make dinner.

    I think the information is good. But in reality your baby should be moved between the floor, your arms, a carrier, a swing, etc frequently. If I left my baby on his tummy on the floor all day long you would have issues with that as well. And I would hope that most parents are not stupid enough to put their child, in any carrier, on the edge of a table.

    • Thank you for your comment, Kara. Some other suggestions included in that post that may help you out are placing baby in the high chair with suction toys, letting your child play in a “yes” space, letting him/her play within the limits of a circular baby gate, using a bouncer seat and, yes, like you said, putting ball pit balls in the pack ‘n play! I hope these are useful alternatives for you…I have used many of them personally to complete the types of tasks you mentioned and they have worked out great. Please let me know if you have other questions, and thanks for stopping by.

  10. Everything in moderation. I used them for my boys while I kept a close eye on them, and they loved sitting in their bumbo! If you do a variety of activities with your child, sitting them in a bumbo seat every once in awhile is not going to hurt their development. And why were these children having skull fractures from falling out them? They obviously were too high up and not being watched. It’s called parenting, it avoids many accidents.

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  14. And interesting post that will certainly temper my use of a bumbo after our first child is born in March (although, as mentioned the wording in the article is a little intense).

    A bumbo was suggested to me by a friend as a helpful tool while showering our baby. We don’t have a standard bathtub, and when he/she gets too big for the sink, a secure place for him/her to sit in a normally slippery space sounded like a great idea. Are there alternate suggestions? Thanks!

  15. So just wondering, my son is almost 7 months old, and he’s sitting up completely unassisted. He’s also not using his hands to stabilize himself either. Would it be ok to use if they’re already sitting up on their own?? Not all the time of course. Also, would it be ok to use it for feeding time?? We don’t have one yet, I would just like to know. So if you could please answer my questions, I would greatly appreciate it :)

  16. Both my little girls had a bumbo. It was a terrific addition to my toolbox of must haves. I regularly took it to the airport so my little one could sit up on a table and watch her daddy come through the doors . Both girls have hit every milestone and exceeded expectations in every way.

  17. In the above post you mentioned the potable highchairs, can they be used on the floor or do they have to be on a chair? She loves being upright and i would like to put her in something when i cannot hold her, plus at 12 weeks old she weighs over 13lbs and gets heavy. Already has great head control as well but she doesn’t like the bumbo as her legs are chunky ;)

    • I wouldn’t recommend putting a portable high chair on the ground and placing your baby in it. Those chairs are meant to be strapped to an adult chair for stability and are not designed to prevent tipping when placed on the floor. At 12 weeks old, I also would not recommend placing baby in a sitting position. You could consider baby wearing with something like a Moby Wrap (read more here: http://bit.ly/1eu0ULj). And here is a post that describes how babies develop the ability to learn to sit on their own, without using “sitting devices”: http://bit.ly/IH0iqt Hope this helps!

  18. I have to agree with you on this. I have a similar seat: the BeBe Pod, and I used it once my kids were able to sit but not keep from going backward. It saw little use but my kids did enjoy playing with the toys on it’s tray. However, I have seen various kids sitting in the Bumbo at very young ages. They looked like bobble head dolls and pretty uncomfortable to me with their backs in a C position because they can’t yet hold themselves up. I didn’t think it was recommended for that age group but it seems to be used that way more often than not.

    I’d be interested in the assessment of other products … I know sit in walkers are a no-no but I have wondered about the activity centers and jumperoos.

    • Jumperoos are definitely off limits. Activity centers are not encouraged or endorsed by most therapists, though some will say a max of 15 minutes a day while you prep food or take a shower is okay. However, babies don’t NEED any of these pieces of equipment in order to develop age-appropriate motor skills. They will be able to develop them just fine with play time on the floor and interaction with their parents and caregivers. Great question!

  19. Thanks for the info. I’m curious as to how you feel about Fisher Price’s Swing N Rocker? The baby is in a reclined position so I am hoping it’s not bad for their development?? I put my baby in this 1-2 times a day just to get things done that I can’t do with her in her Boba wrap. I’ll admit sometimes she falls asleep and I’ll leave her in it because I don’t want to wake her…ugh hope this isn’t a super naive FTM move! Thanks!

    • Great question, Jessica. How old is your baby now? I completely understand your dilemma and am so happy to hear you wear her in a Boba Wrap. I recently read a book written by an occupational therapist and child development specialist called “Retro Baby”, and it talks all about infant development, baby equipment, and activities you can do with your baby from birth through age 2 that doesn’t require the use of baby equipment. In that book, the author suggested that swings be used no more than about 30 minutes per day. She suggests that, if baby falls asleep in a car seat or swing, you should do your best to transfer her out and onto a flat sleeping surface as soon as possible. She shares that this is for two reasons: 1) Babies have a greater risk of developing flat spots on their heads when they sleep in equipment such as swings and car seats and 2) Being left to sleep in equipment can mess with a baby’s ability to sleep deeply. There have definitely been times where I have left my newborn in the car seat to sleep because it took him so long to fall asleep and there’s just no way in the world I want to ruin that! But I have had to be very conscious of only doing that in extreme cases as opposed to on a regular basis. You definitely have to be realistic in order to maintain your sanity, but just be aware that are some downsides that placing baby in there on a regular basis as well. Here’s a link to the book if you want to learn more: http://www.amazon.com/Retro-Baby-Development-Time-tested-Activities-ebook/dp/B00F21VXWG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389247008&sr=8-1&keywords=retro+baby

  20. I think it’s great that people are writing things about these “baby traps” and letting people know that these are not safe or beneficial for our babies. However it does annoy me that it mentions about babies being trapped and unable to explore developmentally but then goes onto say that we need to put our babies into sitting positions to help them to learn to sit. We don’t. All babies if just left alone will reach this milestone by pushing themselves up when they are ready. By sitting them up we are also making them stuck. They can’t get down or move around they are put into this position, usually before their wee bodies are ready, muscles and so on, and then left there to “learn”.

  21. Thanks for this post! I was given a second hand bumbo and did not know any of this information! It’s crazy how companies make tons of toys and things that are actually damaging to our children.

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  23. I was looking into the Bumbo because my 3 mo old is developing a flat spot on the back of his head. During the day I want to try and get the pressure off his head so I’ve been using a carrier, doing tummy time (which he only lasts a few min before crying), and other things.. Any other suggestions?

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  27. I’m a pediatric physical therapist as well and I actually do recommend the bumbo in some cases, such as children with plagiocephaly who need some time off the flat spot on their head to help things “round out”! I prefer the bumbo over worse things like walkers and jumpers.

    • There are better alternatives than a Bumbo seat for plagiocephaly. Tummy time. Develop sitting with a Boppy in front of the child. A good high chair or booster seat. You are right: no walkers or jumpers. But a Bumbo seat is no better. I hope you consider revising your recommendations.

  28. I have 4 month old twins and sometimes I struggle with what to do with them all day. If experts agree that all baby equipment is bad for them, what actually IS recommended, realistically? What would an expert’s ideal day be for my twins? For example, would they say for me to carry and hold one for 20 minutes while they other “played” on the ground? And then switch? What are the other approved activities according to experts? Because this is something I struggle with. Obviously, as a SAHM, I have to get things done around the house and cannot always have one on one time with my twins but I try my best. So I would love to know all of the approved activities they say are ok. I know there is another link about alternate activities so I will read that now too. I apologize if maybe that one will answer all my questions, lol. But wanted to type this out before I forgot.

    • Kacey, thank you so much for your honesty and, guess what, you are not the only one who wonders what in the world to do with their baby/babies all day! I have found a book that is incredibly helpful. I revieved it here on the blog a couple months ago and it has helped me even with my own baby. The book is called “Retro Baby” and it realistically addresses the question you asked: what exactly CAN I use?? You can read my description of the contents of the book (plus how to find a hard copy or digital copy of it) here: http://mamaot.com/2014/01/26/cut-back-baby-gear-boost-babys-development/. Hope this helps you out a bit!

  29. We use a Bumbo seat only as a high chair for our 9 month old. We did not put her in it at all until she was 7 months old and already sitting up on her own on the ground. We have attached it to our dining room seats (which are bench seats) so that she can sit beside her big sister on the bench. Is this still bad for her development? Again we ONLY use it once a day at dinnertime and we supervise her every second she is in it. Also does anyone know of any alternatives that don’t involve tossing out the bench seat and buying a high chair?

    • Why use it at all? It is a bad piece of equipment that is developmentally inappropriate for the recommended ages of 2-3 months, and posturally deficient for older kids because it puts them into a tilted pelvis/rounded back position. Fischer-Price makes a little feeding chair that is a better choice. A small bench or booster seat is a better choice. One of the best choices would be a Trip-Trap or Svann high chair, but they are expensive. They grow with the child. The notion of just using a Bumbo chair a little bit – even though it is a terrible piece of equipment for child development – is misguided. Plasticity of the nervous system demands that we don’t put kids in confusing gravitational environments some of the time, especially for complex activities like eating.

      I am an early intervention PT. We used to use Bumbo seats, until we saw their deleterious effects. Now we have a bunch of them in storage. I suppose we should recycle them. The only appropriate use is for a child with lower extremity paralysis who has no potential for independent sitting. This is an excellent article and the case is very clear. When should Bumbo seats be used? Answer: never! Yet they continue to get good reviews on Amazon, and well-meaning comments like yours – right after this excellent article – asserting that maybe they are not so bad. They belong where baby walkers belong; nowhere around babies.

  30. To all the parents that are freaking out because they have recently bought or used a bumbo: don’t worry about it. What the lady says in the article makes sense, and is a good suggestion. However, my wife and I have 5 children. The oldest 4 have all used a bumbo. They were all crawling at the normal age, and we’re all walking between 10 – 13 months. We didn’t harm our children by placing them in a bumbo! Our youngest child is 8 months old, and he loves his bumbo. He loves sitting in it watching his siblings play, or watching my wife and I do chores around the house. Many times he will cry until we put him in the bumbo. Then he stops crying. He still sits up by himself, and he is starting to pull up on furniture.

    I’m not an expert, but I am the parent of 5. So you could say I have a little experience.

  31. I doubt many people leave their kids in these things all day long and maybe then it would be a problem. We used ours exclusively so our daughter could sit up with us while we ate dinner when she was 2-3 months old and then taken out afterwards. She would play and watch us while we ate. She’s fine.

    • As with the Bumbo, this product is still considered a “container” for baby and does not promote floor play and sensorimotor exploration. I would not suggest it be used with babies who are not yet able to sit on their own. I also would not suggest it as a seat for “play time”. It might be okay to use as a feeding chair however, as stated on the product description, it should not be used on a raised or uneven surface, and it does not appear to have straps to attach it to a regular kitchen chair. In that case, it would be more efficient and economical to get a similar style booster/infant high chair that attaches to a regular chair, such as the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster (http://tinyurl.com/m9sgrmm) or the Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair (http://tinyurl.com/n26vctb). I have experience with both of these high chairs and they work great for saving space and growing with baby into toddlerhood (just as the Baby Snug products says it is able to do). Hope this helps!

  32. Hi,
    I am a first time mum and I’m now seriously confused. Why would bumbo sell something for babies that is according to you – harmful to their well-being? I belong to a babycenter group and this article has been posted on there – sending loads of mums into a frenzy. It would seem (according to this article) that we all are doing it wrong as most of us have a bumbo and jumperoos. I have a bumbo but my 4-month old is quite a big baby and the second time i put her in there she just looked too big and so it went into storage for when i have another baby. I also have the fisher price jumperoo and know of so many mums who have had children in them – yet their children are totally fine. Are these bad too? The internet is a very scary place and articles like these cause mums like me who only want the best for their kids into a state of panic. I also know mums who have used the bumbo’s for previous children and there isnt anything wrong with them either. If these things are so bad and cause these terrible things to happen to children, why isn’t it illegal to sell them?

    • You’ve also got to think about this, they sell strap covers and head supports for car seats that aren’t safe. Those can be quite deadly if you’re in an accident. But yet they’re able to sell those. Companies sell things that are super unsafe all the time.

    • Kimberly, I absolutely love your comment and the question you posed!: If (baby containers and devices) are so bad and cause these terrible things to happen to children, why isn’t it illegal to sell them?

      Honestly, I ask myself this question all the time, and it frustrates me to no end.

      From my perspective, the short answer to that question is, “Because there is no evidence that they are or aren’t bad when they are first invented, created, distributed, sold, and marketed. They haven’t been used yet, so no one knows what the short-term or long-term effects on babies will be at that point. And once they HAVE been sold and used, it can take a very, very long time for evidence to be documented that there are negative consequences to using them. And even after that documentation is made and formal recommendations are made against them, it can still take a long time to get them off the market.”

      Marketing companies are very clever and they tell busy parents what they want to hear — this product will be fun for your baby and it will make your life easier by entertaining them so you can take a break. They may even cite certain developmental skills their product will encourage, such as “gross motor”, “cause and effect”, or cognitive”. And none of that is completely inaccurate. But when we look at infant development as a whole, the product does not promote development in the way they say it does. And pediatric therapists are seeing firsthand throughout the years and decades that as modern babies spend more and more time in devices that contain them such as Bumbo seats, jumpers, walkers, and car seat travel systems (where babies can spend literally hours in the same car seat while transported from house to car to store to car to store to car to house again), developmental milestones trend toward being delayed. The baby product marketing companies don’t tell you that on their box or their website becaue they want you to buy their product.

      One baby device that has been around for decades but that has only recently become banned is the baby walker — like a jumperoo device but it has wheels that allows the baby to “walk” around the room. Therapists and developmental specialists have known for a long time that walkers should be avoided due to the poor postural and walking habits they create, both short-term and long-term. However, it wasn’t until the statistics showed that baby walkers were considerably unsafe (many babies have suffered fatalities or serious injuries due to using baby walkers) that it was considered to place a ban on them. The sale of baby walkers is now illegal in Canada, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has formally recommended that a ban be placed on the sale of baby walkers in the U.S. (though they are still sold here, which seems crazy to me). Baby devices are not ultimately banned for developmental concerns; they are banned due to safety concerns. The other difficult thing about recommending against certain baby equipment is that we cannot see the detrimental effects until the equpiment has been used. Some babies’ development is more easily deterred than others’. Some babies’ systems are more easily impacted negatively by containers than others. We cannot always know which babies will be negatively impacted by containers. And we also cannot know what each baby’s developmental trajectory would have been had they used the container or not used it. This is what makes research on this topic so difficult. We cannot create experimental groups to force some babies to use baby equipment and others to avoid it, and then see how their development follows. It’s just not ethical. So we are forced to look at developmental trends, correlations, relationships, first-hand experiences, and go from there.

      To me, the bottom line when it comes to most baby equipment/containers is this: Babies don’t need baby containers in order to progress in their development, and parents shouldn’t be convinced by marketing companies that they do. Though containers are marketed to convince parents that their baby needs them, the truth is, they don’t. Babies are fully capable of developing the appropriate physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language skills through playtime on the floor in a variety of positions (or even being held) and interactions with the people in their life. Parents are free to choose to use baby equipment/containers if they feel they need to and we therapists hope they do so safely and with moderation. But they should not do so because they have been tricked into thinking that it is the “best thing for their baby”. That’s just a guilt trip the marketing companies are very good at delivering, and parents should not have to feel that they need to defend their decision NOT to buy those products if that is what they choose to do.

      I know this was a super long response, but you asked such a wonderful and thoughtful question, so I wanted to open up the discussion a little bit. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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  34. I ALWAYS hated the look of a bumbo seat, seemed so uncomfortable and restrictive, I certainly wouldn’t want to sit in something like that myself!
    My in laws had one lying around, and my mother in law actually pressured me into putting my son in hers.
    He was in it about 2 minutes before he started screaming.
    Along with that, my son is quite strong for his age, so would push up on one leg and try to climb out! This obviously created a HUGE risk for his safety. Had no straps, no tray, looked into it further and saw about the recall.
    After all my concerns to my partner being dismissed, when I said about the babies with fractured skulls as a result of the very model we have, it went straight into the bin!
    My son, before we even put him in the bumbo, was ‘crawling(dragging)’ himself around the floor, and would sit up sturdily when we held his hands. The bumbo halted his development a bit, I found. At the rate he was going, it would have been 1month before he was sitting himself up, but because of the bumbo, it took 3.
    I personally never trusted them, and my little boy only went in it a handful of times, but was never happy in it, and nor was I happy putting him in it.

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