Alternatives to Using the Bumbo Seat

Yesterday we learned from a pediatric physical therapist that Bumbo seats are a no-go because they can compromise babies’ safety and overall development. (Read that informative post by clicking here.)

So what are some good alternatives to the Bumbo seat?

The Bumbo seat is not great for babies' development, but here are some alternative ideas that will help you still get stuff done around the house without compromising your little one's development.

Here are some ideas that can be used for playtime and/or for those times when you just need to put your baby down in a safely contained space in order to protect your baby from a pet or sibling or to complete tasks such as carrying groceries into the house, doing the dishes, eating your dinner, or being able to go to the bathroom without holding your baby (yep, we’ve all been there). This post contains affiliate links for your convenience (see full disclosure here).

Click on the links in the list below to read posts and see pictures explaining more about each idea:

  1. Play time on the floor, including time spent on tummy, back, and both sides.
  2. Tummy time! Try including an easy homemade sensory bag for added exploration and entertainment.
  3. Play time in a baby gym.
  4. Play time with a baby play table.
  5. Do tummy time on an exercise ball or with your younger baby or play on an exercise ball with your older baby.
  6. Dance with your baby.
  7. Wear your baby in a baby carrier such as a Moby Wrap.
  8. Create a “yes” space for your baby.
  9. Create a safe play space within the limits of a circular baby gate.
  10. Fill a Pack ‘n Play with ball pit balls for babies who are independent or functional sitters (so fun!).

Still need more ideas?

Here is a great post on 5 non-Bumbo ways to support wobbly sitters. 

If for some reason you need to use baby equipment in order to attend to the above-mentioned tasks, try using a bouncer seat placed on the floor instead of using an exersaucerbaby jumper, or baby walker. Bouncer seats at least allow babies to initiate their own sense of movement while keeping them in a safe space without compromising the position of their joints and overall posture.

You could also give your baby a spinning suction toy to play with while safely buckled in a high chair or stroller parked inside your house where you can see him/her while completing your task.

Try to only use these “equipment” alternatives for the minimum amount of time needed to get your stuff done, then transition your baby to some other type of surface (floor time is best!).

And, of course, avoid using the Bumbo seat if you can.

I hope this list gives you some helpful ideas for how to realistically get stuff done during the day while also encouraging the appropriate development of your baby’s sensory and motor skills.

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

How to Play with Your Newborn Baby (0-3 months)

15 Toys for Baby’s First Year

Developmental Benefits of Using a Baby Play Gym

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

Beware the Baby Bumbo Seat

Better Than a Bumbo: 5 Ways to Support a Wobbly Sitter

10 Tips for Helping Babies Learn to Roll

Exersaucers: The Good, The Bad, The Better

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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Please provide appropriate supervision to the child in your care when completing any activities from this site. You as the grown-up will need to decide what types of products/activities on this site will be safe for your child. If you’re not sure, check with your child’s occupational therapist or pediatrician. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when implementing ideas from this site, particularly if there is any risk of injury (e.g., falling, crashing), choking (e.g., small parts), drowning (e.g., water play), or allergic/adverse reaction (e.g., materials/ingredients). The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities from this post or this site. 

15 thoughts on “Alternatives to Using the Bumbo Seat

  1. The only issue with Bumbo seats is parents putting them on raised surfaces and using it and a tv as a baby sitter. My daughter used one for a few months and I know plenary of other kids who used them too, and they are perfectly healthy. As a preschool teacher I see infants in my center who have been injured or suffer growth hindrances from them being used inappropriatly. As a parent you should be doing all of those things with your child. As with any device, too much time in any one area can cause injury. Wether it is a swing, car seat, laying on a mat, or too much tv….

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Kristen! I hope you get a chance to read yesterday’s post, where a physical therspist took the time to explain the biomechanical and sensory issues related to Bumbo use. Above all, we want adults to understand the value of floor time versus time spent in any baby “container”, especially those that put babies in unnatural positions such as the Bumbo. Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. Pingback: Again, Great ideas from MamaOT to avoid using “baby equipment” | Smart Moms - Clever Babies

    • Excellent question, Mary. I have seen this product in stores but have not had the chance to personally interact with it or with babies who may use it, so I can only comment based on what I see from the product pictures. The pictures suggest that the seat insert for the younger babies is quite similar to the Bumbo. Rebecca and I have briefly discussed the design of this product and, based on what we can see, it appears that many of the positional concerns related to Bumbo use would likely relate to this product as well. Have you read the post about helping babies learn to sit? If not, you can read it here: http://mamaot.com/2013/07/14/to-sit-or-not-to-sit-developing-functional-sitting-skills-in-babies/. You can also read the post about alternatives to Bumbo here: http://mamaot.com/2013/07/17/alternatives-to-using-the-bumbo-seat/. I hope this is helpful information for you!

      • Hi! I have tried this product and chose it over the bumbo seat because of all the issues associated with it. I totally agree in the above post by kristen that bumbo seats are dangerous when used on raised surfaces and if the child is not watched — there is no weight balance so te seat is top heavy and if kiddo moves the wrong way, they all topple. this one is weight balanced and secures the kiddo in the seat with straps to a chair and to the kiddo. It’s multi functional since the inside seat lifts out and then outer seat can be used as a booster seat at the dinner table. My 2 year old still uses it and enjoys it. So i have gotten about 18 months of use out of it thus far and will continue to.

  3. Pingback: Beware the Bumbo Seat - Mama OTMama OT

  4. I sit my baby up and prop him up with pillows/soft toys/a blanket, then if he does fall, he falls onto a padded, soft surface.
    We also have one of the blow up rings, and I guess a large rubber ring would work too! But I usually just surround him with cushioned items so he can’t get hurt.

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  7. I decided against the Bumbo when I was researching baby gear for different reasons. I didn’t like that it would only be of use for a few months. Also didn’t like that it could not be safely secured to a chair.
    So we got the Ingenuity seat. Have you heard of it?
    The low density foam can be removed to create a toddler seat. It has built in storage for a tray AND stores the straps needed for securing to a chair. Which makes it easier to take to grandma’s than a high chair. The shape of the seat is different to me than a Bumbo.
    We don’t use it too often (my son is 6 months old). When we do use it, it’s for intentional play and I always use the tray to stack blocks, etc.
    We primarily have used (and LOVE!) the Infantino Gaga Go Deluxe playmat…it’s been our most used item! Now that he’s bigger, we use the Exersaucer more. But most often he plays on the floor. He started sitting unassisted at 23 weeks and we’ve found that he doesn’t like to be contained in something for a long time.
    Anyway, I’d be interested in your opinion on the Ingenuity seat!

  8. Oh I do love a good article that reaffirms my own parenting choices! Nice to have the ideas presented backed up from a developmental perspective and the list of alternatives to the Bumbo seat (with links!) is an absolute gem. I’m so glad I came across this. Thank you! :)

    As a little side-note my daughter definitely backs up what your article suggests. Other mums are always commenting on how patient, alert and strong she is at 20 weeks. I’m no expert on infant development but I steered away from all these high-tech products like battery-operated swinging seats and Bumbo-type chairs, because they look like they’re all designed to mimic human interactions like holding, rocking, talking, etc (and not very well at that!) I also figure she’ll learn more from going outside or being propped on my hip while I make a drink than from the most elaborate of toys.

So, whadya think?