The manufacturer of the popular “Bumbo baby seat” has recalled its product for a second time after widespread risks of falls that have been known to cause serious head injuries to infants.
With 4 million units purchased in the U.S., many parents had become enamored by the seat, with its bright colors and unique shape, which purported to allow young infants to sit upright before they otherwise would be able to do so unassisted.
While many are rushing to defend the seat, product liability attorneys would note that a number of these incidents – which included infant skull fractures – reportedly occurred when the product was being used exactly as intended.
Manufacturers of a defective product may be held responsible in a number of different scenarios, including when there was a:
Failure to warn of those defects.
The reported issue with the Bumbo seat – and it’s been a recurring one – is that infants have been falling out of the seats. They wiggle out or arch their backs, causing the seat to flip over. Victims have suffered moderate to severe injuries as a result.
Back in 2007, the South African manufacturer issued a voluntary recall, which affected about 1 million of the seats. The recall followed numerous reports of infants becoming seriously injured when the product was used on a raised surface.
The company remedied the issue by printing a warning label directly onto the product, indicating the danger of using it unsupervised or on an elevated surface, such as a table or counter top.
However, since that recall, another 3 million of the seats have been sold – and many more children have been injured.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that it is aware of at least 50 incidents since that initial recall involving babies who fell out of the seat when it was being used on a raised surface. In about 20 of those cases, the infants suffered some sort of skull fracture.
But many parents heeded warnings not to use the product on a higher surface – and their children were still injured. There were reportedly an additional 35 or so reports of infants who either fell or wiggled their way out of the seat while it was being used on the floor. In those instances, there were at least two reports of skull fractures. Other injuries included bruises, bumps and other moderate injuries.
Thankfully, there have thusfar not been any reports of deaths attributed to the product.
The product sells for anywhere from $30 to $50 at major retailers, such as Babies R Us, USA Babies, Target, Walmart and others, dating back to 2003.
The company now warns that all consumers should immediately stop using the product until they can obtain and install a free repair kit. This kit includes installation instructions, a restraint belt with a warning label, instructions for safe use and a new warning sticker. The company maintains that even with this kit, the product should never be used on raised surfaces.
Despite the fact that injuries have been reported in a relatively few number of cases, compared to the number of the products that exist, we must also point out that not all injuries are reported to the commission, so there may be an unknown number of additional cases that have gone unreported.
The Ferraro Law Firm handles product liability claims. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.