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Personal Injury Law: Illinois Injury Law Blog
Child Injuries in Illinois a Risk with Bumbo Seat
By Kris Briggs
A recall could be on the horizon for the wildly-popular child Bumbo seat, as it could pose significant risk of injuries to children in Illinois and throughout the country.
An official with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was recently quoted by a California media outlet as saying the number of injuries that children sustained while using the seat were concerning.
Our Illinois child injury attorneys know this isn't the first time this company has been spotlighted for putting children in potential danger.
In 2007, the Bumbo seats were recalled because parents weren't warned not to use them on raised surfaces, like kitchen counters or picnic tables. Before the seats were put back on the shelves, warning labels were printed on the sides, alerting parents to that danger.
Today, the makers of the South-African product insist the seat is safe when it's used the way it's intended. However, if that's the case, why do these injuries keep occurring?
A spokesman for the company was quoted by one media outlet as saying that parents need to supervise their children at all times anyway, and that if they are watching while the child is in the seat, there shouldn't be any problems.
But reports to the consumer product safety commission seem to indicate that's not always the case.
In fact, the commission reports that it has received at least 50 complaints of babies falling from Bumbo seats that were on the floor at the time. Of those, two fractured their skulls and one child had a concussion.
One mother who wrote on a recent message board said she had been seated right next to her son, on the floor, when he fell from the foam seat.
Another parent said his daughter was seated in the Bumbo on the counter, as he stood right next to her. He said he turned for just a moment, and heard a thwack. He turned to find his daughter injured on the floor.
The seats, which are designed to allow very young children to sit up, do not come with any buckles or restraints. Manufacturers of the seat say it wouldn't equip the seats with them now, because that might give people a false sense of security. A company spokesman said the number of injuries has decreased dramatically since it began printing the warning label. But the injuries have not ceased altogether. The company even admits that of the 45 reports of injuries it has received since the recall, 14 involved chairs that had the warning label printed on the side.
Some of the seats come with trays that can be placed in front of the children, but these are not intended to keep the child in place or increase the seat's safety.
A number of child advocacy groups have sent letters to the federal commission, requesting an immediate recall. They are waiting to hear back.
Still, a number of parents say they wouldn't want to give up their Bumbo. Other parents who have had close calls say the convenience isn't worth the risk. And despite the full title of the chair - Bumbo Baby Sitter - the seat should never be used unsupervised.
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