The mommy soap box part 2: back on the bull

I knew there would EVENTUALLY be a part 2! I remember contemplating writing "part 1" on my original mommy soap box post because I didn't have a follow-up planned but I figured SURELY there would be another topic I wouldn't mind getting all UP IN ARMS about and HERE IT IS! REJOICE! More controversy! And it has nothing to do with Chick-fil-A, presidential campaigns, or Twilight cheating scandals!

I'm here to talk about this:

This is my sweet bald-y bean (circa Easter 2012) sitting in her Bumbo seat. A brilliant invention that helps not-so-steady bobble heads 'sit up' on their own. Not only does it get their bodies used to the position of sitting up and kind of trains them to do it on their own, but it's a great way to have them up right without constantly being held by mom, dad, or babysitter Suzie. It's great. I love {er, loveD, since the bean has been sitting up on her own like a BOSS for some time now} our Bumbo.

Yesterday morning, after watching George Stuffy-tropolis successfully butcher his interview with Robert Pattinson on Good Morning America, I saw an ALERT about the recent Bumbo recall. Apparently tiny tots have been falling out of their Bumbos, smacking their little noggins, and getting skull fractures.

*DISCLAIMER... It is TRULY TERRIBLE to hear about children {esp. teeny weenies} being injured. It breaks my heart and makes me say a prayer of thanksgiving that Keelin is healthy and safe. Before you get all 'omgah you're so heartless, blah blah blah' on me, allow me to justify my sarcasm. 

A report from the Huffington post {feel free to read the whole thing} said that Bumbo International learned of "at least 50 incidents in which babies fell from Bumbo seat while they were being used on raised surfaces". Hello. RAISED SURFACES??? All I can picture is someone setting their wobbly wiggly baby in a Bumbo on top of the kitchen table, walking away, and being SHOCKED when their kid manages to get themselves out of the seat and falls from the top of the table to the floor. Is that really the Bumbo's fault? Is it? Or is it a lack of SENSE coming from mom and dad?

I made a point to research the Bumbo before purchasing it so I learned all about the benefits of having one and how NOT to use it.  I actually wound up finding one in GREAT CONDITION at the Once Upon A Child down the street from our house. It came just like you see it in the picture above. No packaging. No instructions. Bare bones. I couldn't even tell you what year it was manufactured. BUT... even if I hadn't done my research before hand, I would have seen this...

baby and dog with bumbo

It's impossible to read from the picture itself {and yes maybe I just wanted an excuse to show you this adorable photo} but it's a warning label near the front of the seat that reads: WARNING Prevent Falls: Never use on any elevated surfaces. Right there in black and white. Well, black and blue. AND, in case I missed that out-in-the-open warning, there is another on the backside of the seat that reads:

WARNING

NEVER USE ON A RAISED SURFACE NEVER USE AS A CAR SEAR OR BATH SEAT DESIGNED FOR FLOOR LEVEL USE ONLY NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY UNATTENDED AS THE SEAT IS NOT DESIGNED TO BE TOTALLY RESTRICTIVE AND MAY NOT PREVENT RELEASE OF YOUR BABY IN THE EVENT OF VIGOROUS MOVEMENT

And yes, the entire warning is in caps so it's basically yelling at you to pay attention. It's right there people.

Now, don't get me wrong. Certain warning labels are a bit OVERZEALOUS. AKA the majority of baby seats, swings, chairs, etc. all say that parents should not leave their child in them unattended. If Keelin was never out of my sight while in her swing, I would have never gotten anything done. EVER. We used the crap out of that swing and after making sure she was SECURELY STRAPPED IN, I would often move about the house getting things done. GASP. I'm such a rule breaker. I realize that a lot of these warnings are put their strictly for CYA purposes so that when Mrs. Whatsherface calls up claiming her child FLEW from their seat and hurt themselves, Company X can say, "Well ma'am, the warning label did say blah-di-blah-di-blah".  That being said... it's still the responsibility of whoever is buying and using the product to READ the warnings and be aware that Company X wouldn't PUT THEM THERE AT ALL unless they knew certain dangers were a possibility.

My Bumbo, as well as all of the early models, does not have a strap. That's what I get for trying to save a little cash and purchasing 2nd hand. I know that as the product has evolved they added a restraint belt so your baby has a harder time wiggling out, but it's still not impossible for them to find a way out of the strap or somehow manage to tip the whole thing over. I swear these little boogers are sneaky in their escape tactics! Since mine didn't have a strap, and my research informed me that the new strap was a precaution to ensure babies remain safe, I made a point to only have Keelin in her Bumbo while I was close by. If I did need to leave the room I made sure she was sitting on the carpet, away from anything she could bump her head on in case she did manage to tip out. I was lucky enough to avoid her falling out on the hardwood floor because after seeing her lean all the way over the front {much like in the picture above with Pigs} I decided she was probably quite capable of flipping that thing right over and I didn't want to risk it happening on such a hard surface. YES, I will even confess that I have had Keelin, in her Bumbo, up on a high surface. {please don't report me for to child services} But you can bet your butt I had at least one hand holding on to that seat or holding onto her the entire time. I'm not, by any means, trying to say I'm mother of the year, because Lord knows I've made some stupid mistakes that have resulted in tears from BOTH my eyes and Keelin's. If you've been a parent for more than a day and cannot say the same thing you're probably lying. But I do read the warning labels. I do follow what they say and when I don't I'd like to think I have the intelligence to realize that something could go wrong and Keelin could get hurt.

**DISCLAIMER no 2.: If you read the whole Huffington Post article you'll see that there were also reports of babies getting hurt when falling out of their Bumbo seats on the ground level. It doesn't say specifically that both ground-level falls and raised surface falls resulted in skull fractures, but in true BUSINESS FASHION, it mentions them both to cover all grounds. Although I would assume that if your baby is down on the ground and is hitting his/her head hard enough to get a skull fracture he/she might not be old or big enough for the Bumbo in the first place... hence the additional warning that the seat should not be used until your baby can support his/her own head. The truth of the matter is, when babies are able to utilize the Bumbo and they do hit their heads {from any height} it isn't going to feel good, there will probably be tears, especially if they hit a hard surface. Some kids are more squirmy than others and will spend the rest of their lives bumping their heads on things. I know a few people like that today who are doing just fine. I just wanted to call out that I did read the full article and I do realize that injury can happen at any time, from any height.

So... to wrap this up let me just say that my issue isn't that there was a recall. By all means Bumbo, recall away. Do what you can to CONSTANTLY be improving your product to make sure our sweet babies are safe.  My issue is that people seem to be OUTRAGED at Bumbo as a company when the facts clearly state that the majority of the problem is based on parents ignoring the warning labels.  But mostly, my issue is that people are disregarding warning labels and putting their children at risk of injury. If the warning label says NOT to put the seat on raised surfaces, don't do it. If you decide to ignore that warning, at least be there to eliminate the known risk of your baby getting hurt.

We, meaning new parents, are kind of flying blind here. We're clueless. We may think we know what we're doing and we may do a damn good job at pretending, but we're really just walking around thinking, "keep the baby alive, keep the baby alive, keep the baby alive". We're going to make mistakes. We're going to forget that one step that results in a baby face plant and crocodile tears. It's going to happen. And it's going to be okay. Sometimes I think it's God's way of teaching us humility and doing what He can to help us learn from our mistakes. The thing to remember is, we have to be WILLING to learn. We have to be smart. We have to read the warning labels. We have to choose whether or not to take the necessary {and often advised} precautions that will keep our kids from fracturing their itty-bitty adorable little skulls.

And now I welcome you to JOIN ME on my soap box. Let me have it. Especially you new moms... I want to know what you think!

Until next time...