I wrote last week about the £13 Ikea high chair that you should absolutely get instead of anything more expensive.
Here’s another handy sitting device that you can pick up for about a tenner second hand.
The Bumbo floor seat
Try and ignore the daft name.
Also, be warned that one of the times I tried to reach the Bumbo main website something tried to hijack my browser. So maybe don’t go there.
Whilst I’m prevaricating: you want to try and find one of these second hand. Apparently Bumbo got hit with a bunch of lawsuits as a result of kids falling out of these seats and permanently injuring themselves, so the new models have some pretty awkward straps. The old models which constantly appear in second hand shops near us don’t have the straps, and are much the better for it.
They’re also normally between £10-£15, which is much more palatable than the £30 Amazon is selling them at.
Anyway, let me tell you why you want one.
The Bumbo floor seat. Again.
If you can’t see the images: imagine flopping down really heavily into a big beanbag whilst sitting up straight. If you then managed to recreate that beanbag shape in a dense foam material that feels like a really firm stressball, you’d have a massive Bumbo.
For both our sakes, just look at the pictures.
The genius of the Bumbo is how simple it is. Between about three and nine months (depending on how quickly your wee beastie gets fat), the Bumbo is an instant baby immobilising device.
Going for a shower? Bumbo on the bathroom floor, baby in Bumbo, dance to entertain baby.
Can’t put off hoovering any longer? Bumbo in the centre of the carpet and sing as you go.
Need to open the door and sign for something but have your arms full of baby? Kick the Bumbo into the hallway, deposit child, open door whilst forgetting you’re covered in goo.
Those rounded leg holes and deep seat will keep your little darling safely in one place without feeling like they’re being restrained. If you clip on the little table they’re even more secure, and can amuse themselves with appropriate toys or finger food as well (for a good few months every meal Owen had was from the Bumbo rather than the high chair).
They won’t last in there for long (unless your shower dancing is particularly epic), but ten minutes is enough to restore a bit of sanity to your life.
Similarly to the Ikea chair, the Bumbo is all smooth rounded surfaces that make wiping it down a doddle. It’s also lightweight and can be worn upsidedown as a slightly odd looking Greek helmet (go on, try it when no-one’s looking).
Didn’t you mention skull fractures above?
Mm. Lots of them, going by the Google results.
Make no mistake, the Bumbo isn’t totally secure. By nine months Owen could lever himself out of it, or capsize and then crawl around with it stuck to his backside like a peculiarly-shelled snail.
I could see how if you were balancing the Bumbo on a chair or table, there’s the potential for serious injury if your child topples sideways. There are warnings on the seat, but after 3 hours sleep in two days no parent is alert enough to read.
If you think you might be tempted to use the Bumbo at height, don’t buy it. Even the straps on the newer models won’t help – the foam is just too lightweight be perfectly stable.
However, if you’re after a great way of temporarily keeping your child in one place on the floor and you’re going to stay in the room keeping an eye on them, the Bumbo is just the job.
PS: for skinny babies, just pad the seat out a bit with a rolled up jumper. You’re staying in the same room, so there’s no risk that they’re get tangled in a sleeve.
PPS: Owen was very early to start sitting up unaided. I’ve no idea if the Bumbo helped, but the high back of the Bumbo does seem to encourage and support the concept.