The Truth About Bumbo Chairs

by Dr. Stella Kandyba, PT, DPT

child trying to escape bumbo chair

Today, probably every new parent and parent-to-be has heard about the Bumbo seat. I see a lot of those seats in homes of my little patients, and I decided to do something about it. The Bumbo website claims their products are “all for the love of children”. The internet is full of information about whether it is beneficial for child development or is, in fact, just the opposite. Let’s discuss the subject of debate and make an educated conclusion together.

The first 3 years of our lives are crucial for our development. We learn to hold our heads, then roll, sit, crawl, walk, run, jump, climb, and much more. All these milestones have to be reached on time and in sequence. We learn to hold our heads at about 2-3 months, and there are still months ahead before we can sit independently. We need to use those important months to train our muscles to get strong enough to support us in sitting. What does The Bumbo Floor seat offer instead? According to their site, the product “was designed to seat young babies who can’t sit up by themselves yet. As soon as your baby can support their own head you can seat them in the Bumbo Floor Seat”. Basically, what it means is: as soon as your baby can support their own head, don’t let them develop further; just encase them in our seat, and they won’t have to move a muscle! Instead of strengthening and developing trunk control, muscles are excused from working. That may lead to developmental delays and even developmental disabilities.

The Bumbo site further describes in detail how the product works. I don’t know who wrote such a “masterpiece”, but it was definitely NOT a physical therapist, nor was it a person with basic knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology. When we sit in such a chair with hips bent (or “flexed”), our pelvis is NOT placed in anterior pelvic tilt but in POSTERIOR pelvic tilt, which does NOT facilitate lumbar extension but facilitates lumbar FLEXION. In other words, it makes our backs and our shoulders become flexed forward and rounded, necks hyperextended, and heads moved too much forward straining the newly-developed neck muscles. Instead of developing control, we develop poor postural habits and laziness. To add insult to the injury, the company recently attached seat belts to further eliminate movement in the seat, although making it seemingly safer. Or was it done to hold down the babies who tried to escape this jail?

If it looks like a jail and functions like a jail, wouldn’t we conclude that it is not what we want for our children? For the true love of our children, what do we want then? There is no developmental equipment better for your baby than a clean floor and your own body. If you want your child to develop on time, use the floor, the safest place in the house because there is nowhere to fall. Place your baby on his/her sides, on tummy, in supported sitting, across your lap, against your chest, on your knees, and in any other position you can possibly think of, just allow movement and change of positions. Let your baby explore the new world without being stuck in a Bumbo prison. As always, when in doubt, seek professional advice. Your pediatric therapists will gladly help.

BUTTOM LINE: Do NOT use the Bumbo chair for developing babies. Use activities on the floor to improve your child development.

Article source:

Chance To Advance, LLC is a private home pediatric physical therapy company servicing kids in Monmouth, Middlesex, and Ocean counties, NJ. We visit your child at home, on a playground, or in a daycare. Most major insurances are accepted. Please explore our site or email for more information.

happy child jumping