BUMBO CHAIR

“Grave Concerns about popular Baby Bumbo Seat,” Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune, 3/15/12.

“Therapists See No Developmental Benefits from Seats,” Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune, 3/15/12.

BUMBO CHAIRS AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Recent articles in the Chicago Tribune examine the dangers and question the developmental benefits of the popular Bumbo Chair.  With this particular design baby is forced upright in the sitting posture with both legs fixed in position so they can not move out of the chair.  Baby has no choice but to be upright.  The first Tribune article examines the very serious accident that can result when baby moves and the chair tips over.  The second article refutes the benefits Bumbo promotes on their website.  Developmentally, the forced sitting positon can lead to muscle fatigue and spasm.  If baby can not get out of the sitting position when he is tired, which is the case with the Bumbo chair, the muscles spasm (tighten).  Tight muscles makes it difficult for baby to articulate the movement of the pelvis for crawling, or to lay on the belly for tummy time.   Muscles in spasm do not want to stretch or move.

THREE PARENTing tips

  1. Parents need free hands.  A much better developmental choice is the play pen (also called Pak N Play) because mom can have free hands while baby explores through her own movement.
  2. Parents like to see the baby is “happy.”  Babies smile when they are at eye level with you.  Rather than place Bumbo on the table,  it is a better choice for their motor skill development to put them on the floor and for parents to get down on the floor with them.   Go to their level so they can learn what they need through movement.
  3. Parents aim to develop good posture for baby.  Rather than stabilize baby in a “trap,” allow her to strengthen muscles through movement and play.  Putting baby on the floor and in tummy time better strengthens back and neck muscles for developing beautiful sitting posture.

HOW BABIES DEVELOP SITTING POSTURE

Through being given time on the floor to explore, babies develop motor skills.  You can not force a rose to open, if you try you will rip it apart.  Babies need time in each developmental stage.  The design of their development is absolutely brilliant.  Their brain is ready to fire the motor patterns of sitting and standing when their bones and muscles are strong enough to do so.  When babies spend a lot of time on the floor and learn to lift their head while in tummy time, they sit with beautiful posture from the first day they sit.  Their muscles and bones are ready.  It should happen naturally.

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