Pros and Cons of Bumbo Seats

Pros and Cons of Bumbo SeatsBaby registry “needs” and top ten lists of “best” and “worst” baby gadgets are aplenty. The Bumbo Floor Seat has been on a variety of those lists, so you may wonder what the buzz is about. Is the Bumbo worth it?

Retailing just under $45 with a tray available for purchase at around $12, the Bumbo is arguably the most popular floor seat for kids 4-14 months. Mamas & Papas has the Baby Snug Floor Seat for under $60, including the tray and with extended use up to 3 years. These soft-structure seats offer support and stability for sitting upright once a baby has the strength to hold his or her head stable.

Bumbo International states the seat offers “improved visual field of the environment” and “stabilizes [the] child into slight hip flexation” to allow for comfortable sitting with support. Some of the reasons people love the Bumbo include:

  • Essentially no assembly required—Step 1: Read the directions; Step 2: Enjoy!
  • The tray provides development of fine motor skills and upright play at a younger age.
  • The seat may provide extended use for children with developmental delays or challenges.
  • As placing babies on their backs to sleep, use of infant carseat carriers, and swings/bouncers keep young children with pressure on the backs of their heads, the floor seat can offer relief related to flat head issues.
  • The seat keeps baby upright, possibly helping with reflux.
  • The tray and seat are both easy to clean.
  • The seat is portable and light, ideal for travel as opposed to a high chair.

On the flip side, the floor seat has come under fire for issues of stability and several voluntary recalls. When used properly, the chair offers minimal hazards. Bumbo International worked hard in the last few years to articulate more clearly via social media, clearer warning labels, and general instruction of proper use of their product. Still, parents raise a few concerns about the seat, including:

  • The seat decreases the amount of time an infant may spend on belly, lessening opportunity to strengthen important muscles for development in the back and legs.
  • Babies that arch and twist, or are particularly top heavy are more likely to fall out of the chair.
  • There is some continued misuse of the Bumbo by parents, placing the seat on the counter or uneven surfaces, leaving a child unattended, or not using the seat belt (Either included or offered free of charge stemming from the 2012 voluntary recall.)
  • Chubby babies may not fit so comfortably or may not use the product long enough for it to be a worthy investment, however each family defines that.

We used the Bumbo with our first son until one day, after less than ten minutes of use, his chubby legs started turning bluish. We did not have it for our second son and did not miss it. I often wore my sons instead if there came a time I wanted to situate them in a limited space. If there were times where I really needed to set them down, like to shower, I secured them in another safe space. Some people swear by the Bumbo; others claim their baby never liked it. If you monitor your use, utilize the seat strap, and allow moderate periods of time for use on the floor, the Bumbo can prove to be a great gadget in your parenting closet.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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