The Bumbo® Baby Seat, essentially a large piece of molded green foam, has been the subject of two recalls in the last five years. In 2007, 1 million units were recalled in the United States. Now, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 4 million seats are being called back to the manufacturer due to injuries sustained by nearly 100 babies. These seats were sold for about eight years at popular stores like Walmart, Sears, Target, Toys and Babies“R”Us and countless online vendors.
The CPSC press release explains that the restraint system on the 15-inch chair is inadequate to hold children and that many of them have squirmed their way out of the seat. This is of course dangerous in and of itself, but most of the serious injuries have occurred when the seat has been placed on an elevated surface like a table or countertop. Many children have fallen from these surfaces. To date, the CPSC and Bumbo International have been alerted to more than 20 cases in which very young children have fractured their skulls falling to the floor from the Bumbo seat. Even children whose seats were placed on the floor have managed to sustain skull fractures. Obviously head injuries and brain injuries are incredibly dangerous regardless of the age of the victim, but babies’ brains are at high risk of developing cognitive problems later in life after a serious traumatic event.
As a means of rectifying their manufacturing error, Bumbo is now offering a more secure restraint system with added labels and warnings about not placing the seat on an elevated surface. Consumers can find a link to order a free repair kit here.
The Bumbo baby seat is symbolic of a much larger problem. According to the advocacy group Kids in Danger, there is a recall of a children’s product about twice per week. This means there are about 100 products recalled in a given year. In 2007, there were over 46 million units of various children’s products recalled. This group, along with a few others, has led the charge in the past few years to urge the CPSC to adopt stricter standards with regard to the safety of products geared toward children.
Working in concert with advocacy groups, personal injury attorneys have helped lead the charge against injuries like this by holding manufacturers accountable for the safety of their products, especially those marketed toward otherwise defenseless children. All too often, it takes a tragedy to draw corporations’ attention to their products’ danger.
A really startling statistic about recalls is that only 10 to 30 percent of products recalled actually make their way back to the manufacturer. The rest remain in homes with children, posing a serious threat to their health and safety. Kids in Danger estimates that in 2006, more than 66,000 children under the age of five went to the hospital due to injuries sustained by nursery products and that each year such products resulted in the deaths of about 80 young children.