At least four million moulded Bumbo Baby Seats have been recalled from around the world, by South African company Bumbo International Trust.
According to the company, the United States and Canadian officials, the recall is the result of parents reporting serious injuries such as bleeding noses, bloodied lips and even cracked skulls.
Amidst all the controversy, the popular baby seat is still being manufactured in Gauteng and is still being sold in South African stores.
Years of complaints
The Bumbo Baby Seat is moulded from dense foam described as a light weight plastic.
For years, parents have been posting their complaints of the product on sites such as Saferproducts.gov – a consumer safety information database connected to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
One of the several complaints posted on the site read: “My husband had our 5.5 month old son in his Bumbo. He was seated on a level counter away from the edge. My husband looked away briefly to start bath water and my son and the Bumbo crashed off the three foot counter…”
According to Bumbo International Trust and CPSC, when the product was first recalled in 2007, at least 50 incidents had been reported in the US where babies fell while the seat was on a raised surface. Nineteen of the injuries included skull fractures. An additional 34 cases were reported of infants who were hurt while in the seat. Two babies even suffered fractured skulls.
The Bumbo Baby Seat is however still available at Babies R Us stores across South Africa, and some employees even continue to recommend the product.
According to an iol article relating to the recall, an employee at the branch at Canal Walk did warn that the device was slightly unstable, while an employee at Tokai Junction said only “overweight babies” would cause the product to tip over.
The US and Canada also continue to sell the product.
Recalled but still being sold
“The CPSC calls any change that is made to a product a recall,” said a Bumbo International spokesperson. “Due to the addition of the restraint belt – that is the term being used.”
The restraint belt will be made available, free of charge, to people who have already bought the seat and all new seats will be sold with the belt as standard.
According to the company, the belt will improve the safety of the product.
The recall comes with a new warning label on the company’s website, which insists that the product should only used with the restraint belt, shown int he abov e picture, and should never be placed on an elevated surface.
Bumbo International has advised Bumbo owners in South Africa to email email@example.com to order a kit that includes a restraint belt, instructions and new warning stickers.