I didn’t know what to expect with the Bumbo floor seat. In fact, I’d never even heard of the Bumbo before my pediatrician’s assistant suggested it. This was in 2010, soon after my middle child was born. The assistant assured me that she never went in for all the “baby gizmos,” and wouldn’t suggest it if she didn’t have full faith in its value. Her recommendation came with firsthand observations of other babies in the practice that had used a Bumbo seat.
The Bumbo is a molded seat made of high-grade foam. It has a rubberized feel to it, and has a supportive design with just enough flex in it to support a baby’s individual shape. The seat wraps around the baby’s lower back and hips, with molded slots for legs and a center piece that supports baby’s belly. It features rounded edges that are soft to the touch. It’s designed specifically to reinforce good posture, and comes with glowing recommendations from pediatricians and pediatric orthopedic doctors.
Our daughter was four months old when the pediatrician’s assistant recommended the Bumbo floor seat. She’s very active and intelligent, and got bored easily at that stage when she wasn’t mobile yet, but could sit for extended periods of time with support. We’d been told that as soon as she has great head control, she could use the Bumbo seat. Though we flinched a little at the $40 price tag for molded foam rubber, we trusted the source of the recommendation and went ahead with the purchase.
The Bumbo was an instant success – our daughter loved it from the very first day. It allowed her to sit up and watch all the goings-on in the room, and allowed my husband and I to feed her or play with her without sacrificing one hand for support. While I’ve read a number of reviews that say the Bumbo floor seat doesn’t look comfortable, my own daughter (and, later, her little brother) had no such complaints.
My daughter weighed in at about 15 pounds when we first got the Bumbo. It’s a little big for her age, so I was worried that she wouldn’t fit right. Such concerns were ill-founded, since she had no trouble until about two months later. Around six months old, her thighs got too big for the molding. The Bumbo sat unused until she started toddling around at 10 months, when her legs slimmed out enough that she was able to continue using it until she was nearly 2 years old and weighed 36 pounds.
Despite a voluntary recall in August of 2012, when my youngest was 3 months old and just starting to use the Bumbo, it’s safe to say that I have no safety concerns with this seat. It’s designed for a snug fit, but a floor-based position. My babies have managed to scoot it around on the floor, but stay securely inside of it. When you pick your baby up out of the seat, you may have to hold the back or it comes along for the ride.
So about this 2012 Bumbo recall – the details of the voluntary recall state that the problem was skull fractures caused when parents placed the seat on raised surfaces and didn’t closely monitor their children. The Bumbo seat isn’t a high chair, and it clearly states in the warnings that it must be placed on the floor and used with adult supervision. Nevertheless, if you buy a secondhand seat that was made before August 2012, you can order a free restraint kit that includes a much brighter, easier-to-read warning label – just in case anyone missed it.
While I never used the restraints on my own seats, I did order them and install them on the seats before passing our Bumbos on to the next people who needed them. The restraint kit includes a template and really easy instructions, and it takes less than five minutes to install a safety belt on the seat. Kits for both seats – one purchased in 2010 for our daughter, the other in 2012 for our son – arrived about 10 days after I requested them from this Bumbo recall site.
The Bumbo floor seat was a huge part of both our kids’ infancies. We used it for mealtimes (from the floor), to let the kids sit in front of the Leapfrog Learning Gym, and to properly position them for a mobile arch. Over time, we ended up buying the Bumbo play tray too, which fits over the center piece and snaps under the seat. This allowed them to have snacks, small toys, crayons, and other fun things that we don’t really want running loose in the house. Both the Bumbo play tray and the Bumbo floor seat are easy to wipe clean.
Our daughter only ever expressed a desire to get out of the Bumbo seat when her back got tired. She liked to sit for hours in that seat, and misses it now that she has grown out of it. Our son used his Bumbo seat for about the first year, but prefers getting up and moving a lot more than our daughter – as soon as he could run and climb up on “big people” chairs, the Bumbo was forgotten.
All told, the two Bumbo floor seats we bought for our kids are among the best baby purchases we ever made. Both went on to other babies when our kids were done with them, and they’re still in perfect condition. Remember that even with the restraints, these seats are meant to be on the floor – kids will bounce and scoot. When used properly, they’re safe seats and, whether it’s because of the Bumbo or not, both of these kids have excellent posture and balance.
Disclaimer notice: I have no affiliation with the manufacturers of the Bumbo floor seat, or anyone else associated with the company. I have not been offered compensation for this review by anyone connected to the product. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.