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physical therapist on bumbo seats

Posted by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM
  • 28 Replies

Just wanted to post!

Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

Chairs inhibit movement, which is what babies need, experts say

March 15, 2012|By Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune reporter

Like other gadgets that confine babies, including walkers, exercise saucers and bouncy seats, the Bumbo Baby Seat is not popular among physical therapists.

Bumbo's website says its product — which props up an infant in a sitting position before he may be physically ready to do it on his own — has developmental benefits and enhances posture.

But the position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy atChildren's Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and encourage movement, said physical therapist Colleen Harper, director of developmental, rehabilitative and child life services at Chicago's La Rabida Children's Hospital.

"No equipment enhances a child's motor development; equipment is a 'baby sitter' so that a parent can cook dinner, eat dinner or take a shower," Harper said. "A gross motor skill like sitting is achieved through movement and practice. Children fall out of Bumbo seats because they do not yet have the requisite strength, balance and coordination needed for sitting."

And though many parents say their children look happy in the Bumbo, Weck says babies can be equally happy in many other positions. Here's how Weck assesses statements found on

Bumbo says: "The seat stabilizes the child into slight hip flexion, placing the pelvis in a slight anterior pelvic tilt which facilitates lumbar extension."

Weck says: "Actually, it does the exact opposite. It puts the baby's pelvis in a posterior tilt, which facilitates lumbar flexion, not extension. That puts the baby's chest behind the pelvis. Then the head has to come too far forward. It's no longer positioned directly above the chest."

Bumbo says: "The chair allows a child the pelvic stability needed to get the hands into the midline for play."

Weck says: "Children don't need a chair to get their hands in that position. At the age they're using the Bumbo, they are able to do that in a variety of positions anyway."

Bumbo says: "Upright positioning facilitates an improved visual field of the environment, improved respirations and breath control and assists a baby who needs to be upright after feeding due to reflux."

Weck says: "Studies show tummy time is good at stabilizing the visual field of the environment. Research also shows respirations and reflux are better when the infant is prone rather than upright, as long as the baby is in the proper prone position. One reason the chairs tip over is that babies need to move. This chair holds them from getting the vestibular motion they need to give them control of their eyes and other sensory issues. All the benefits you get from moving are inhibited in a chair."


by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

This is why i never got this or a walker or swing for my son.

by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 2:51 PM
I can't say I'm surprised.
by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM

 I agree this does not suprise me.

by Bronze Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 4:47 PM
Ya not surprising.
by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 4:51 PM
1 mom liked this

I LOVE the bumbo for LOs when we're out to dinner, but that's the only time we even use one. 

I'll put him right on the bench seat beside me, and he can join the crowd around the table before he's able to even use a high chair.  I don't particularly LIKE to wear a baby at a dinner out, and this keeps him positioned near me.

I've never used one thinking that I was doing a developmental service or disservice to my child....

by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM
My first son hated his - his chunky thighs would get stuck
by Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 6:54 PM

 i never got a bumbo for any of my girls.. i guess from just looking at it and thinking of ways how it really would be helpful.. never really crossed my mind..

by Bronze Member on Jun. 12, 2013 at 6:54 PM

never thought about that, but it makes sence. I dont use one. but i will sit him down in a swing or  his car seat when i need to cook or something.

by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Who cares! I wanted it for the convenience not for major mile stones.

~Jen~ Group Owner of Bringing Birth Home.                                                                                                              I am a breastfeeding, midwife using, cloth diapering, delayed cord cutting, natural birthing type of mama!

by on Jun. 12, 2013 at 9:23 PM

I never liked the Bumbo seat anyway.

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