We’ve known for a long time how loud consumer voices can be when manufacturers and retailers miss the mark on customer service, but never are they so loud than when issues arise over baby products.
Our friends at Kids in Danger, a child safety advocacy group, recently cosigned a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asking for the recall of Bumbo baby seats because of they can pose a fall hazard to babies sitting in them. The Consumer Federation of America, U.S. PIRG, Consumers Union, and Public Citizen also signed the letter.
“[The CPSC] doesn’t need to listen to us,” said Kids in Danger Executive Director Nancy Cowles. “They need to look at their own data.”
While consumer outcry, especially now with digital media, has pressured government agencies and manufacturers to act in many ways in the past, it’s unclear if the CPSC has ever recalled a product because of consumers voicing concerns.
Bumbo was not immediately able to comment.
Bumbo seats are designed to help babies sit upright before they are able to do so independently. They were recalled in 2007 after reports that babies toppled out of the chair and fractured their skulls.
Bumbo added a warning statement to the package advising parents to never use the seat on an elevated surface like a table.
Cowles said that even though the company added the warning statement to packaging, the original advertising materials showed a picture of the seat on a table. She thinks a redesign of the product is needed since the company originally thought that using a seat on an elevated surface was an acceptable practice.
CPSC is aware of 33 skull fractures, two of which happened when the product was used on the floor. The agency also knows of 95 injuries that happened since the 2007 recall, says the cosigned letter from Kids in Danger.
“It’s simply too many injuries for products sold for tiny babies,” said Cowles.
The most recent incident to date for a Bumbo seat is from this past January when a child seated on the floor inside the Bumbo seat reached for a toy nearby and toppled over sideways.
Seats like Bumbo’s currently don’t fall into a recognized category of oversight for the CPSC, which makes it problematic for the agency to try to address safety concerns. The agency will create safety standards for bassinets, play yards, cradles, strollers, and infant carriers this year. Cribs, walkers, bath seats, and bed rails already have standards.
CPSC Spokesperson Patty Davis acknowledged that Assistant Executive Director of Complaince and Field Operations Andrew Kameros did receive the letter from Kids in Danger, but provided “no comment” as to whether he would act on it or reply.
What do you think? Should Bumbo and/or the CPSC recall the infant seat? Is it a case of user error on the part of parents? Sound off in the comments.