Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hey, Bumbo!

When the phone rang at 7:30 a.m. I knew it was my mother.

"I was just watching the morning show, and that purple baby seat thing has been recalled."

I had been on my way out the house but that doesn't mean I was alert by any means.

"The carseat? What?"

"No, that purple dumbo thing your friend lent you for the baby."

"Oh ... the Bumbo," I said, laughing because none of us can remember colors with any degree of accuracy, so names are a lost cause.

The seat to which she was referring, a curious-looking foam circle that was designed for babies who don’t sit up on their own, was at the time of the call sitting smack dab on the counter, where it shouldn’t be sitting.

"It is blue, mom. No, Green. Whatever ... what's the problem?"

"They can overturn causing serious head injuries."

Can't say I didn't see it coming, though. As someone who generally carries the little man wherever I go, I had to be convinced that the Bumbo — a $40 item designed for kids between the ages of three and 14 months — was one of the 'must have' baby belongings.

Seeing it in action didn't really convince me, either. Not only was my husband partial to putting it on his head and wearing it as a hat, any kid who arched their back (which in practical terms is every kid) has the potential to pitch themselves right out of the contraption.

Ittybit must have seen it coming, too, since she’d always complain the baby was sitting in her dad's hat.

Common sense would tell you to watch the kids while they're in it, and keep it on the ground and away from the stairs. Don’t use it as a floatation device, a car seat or a highchair, and remember never ever take it to Old Man Potter's super steep sledding hill come January.

And yet common sense doesn’t have a job anymore, not in my brain anyway now that I'm sleeping like a baby (waking up every two to three hours).

It's just another recall where the manufacturer promises to update the warning labels on the item to include wording to the effect: "Don't treat this strapless, roly-poly item as if it were bolted to the table. It's not. Seriously — don't do it. We know you're tired and just leaving the kid alone for a second. We KNOW you've probably done it before with no incidents, but you were lucky. A second is all it takes."

But I'm so very tired of the recalls that are reported daily. Lead paint, magnets, tiny parts, unnatural ingredients that are causing lung disease in plants ... It's enough to make a parent (and grandparent) crazy. I suppose there's the moment of overload when you wonder if it's all just overblown — a slow news day — until you remember they’re talking about toys. Toys! Things we give to our children to make them happy; things that are supposed to make them smile.

Four years ago I used to think my mom was a little nuts for being worried about giving things made in China to Ittybit. I thought imports were inspected and safe, while she saw stories that showed Chinese infants dying from starvation after their parents fed them counterfeit baby formula that had no nutrients what-so-ever and wondered: ‘how do we know for sure those same greedy companies aren’t shipping their wares over here?’

Crazy like a fox.

Safety inspections, it would seem, would coordinate well with the Emperor's New Clothes.

So now I check labels when I buy toys. I look for things made in America and not just designed here.

It's a challenge, for sure, but I can honestly say it's been fun: The play dough we cooked on the stove in our kitchen was definitely made in the U.S.A., and the plain popcorn I put in a brown paper bag and shoved in the microwave tasted better than Orville's ... and it had real butter.

I just hope no one chokes on any kernels while I'm moving the Bumbo to the carpeted floor.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

I LOVE this post. So funny and right on the money. Our bumbo is on the kitchen table. Because of course it will never happen to us--ha.