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4 million infant seats recalled after babies suffered head injuries

After more than 80 instances of infants falling out of a popular type of baby seat, many of them suffering skull fractures, the Bumbo Baby Seats company has issued a nationwide recall of nearly 4 million infant seats.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said babies can wiggle out of the molded foam seats, which are meant to be used on the floor. The company is hoping to remedy the situation by sending out repair kits, which include seatbelts to harness babies in the seats, to customers in Louisiana and throughout the country.

The first report of a baby falling out of the Bumbo seat took place about five years ago. At that time, the company performed a smaller recall of about 1 million seats as well as emphasized to parents that the seats should only be used on the floor.

However, since 2007, 21 infants suffered skull fractures as a result of falls from Bumbo seats.

According to the CPSC, about 50 of these falls took place while the seat was being used on a raised surface, but 34 falls happened while the seat was being used on the floor or an unreported elevation.

Even when people or children are injured because they are misusing a product, a manufacturer may still sometimes be held responsible. This is because companies, especially those that make children’s and baby products, are charged with studying how a product might be dangerous before selling it to the public.

In the Buckyball case that we discussed last week, that product was deemed too defective to sell even though it is only dangerous when being used improperly.

It could be argued that Bumbo should have forecasted that parents might use the seat on a table, and knowing this the company might have developed an effective plan to communicate the dangers of doing this before the product even hit the market. However, it does appear that the seat poses risks even when on the floor.

Hopefully, the seat harnesses will be effective in keeping infants safe in these chairs, but it may concern many parents that so many children were injured before this move was made.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Bumbo Recall Shows How Companies Deal With Faulty Products,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Aug, 16, 2012

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