Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bumbo Does It Again, Recalls Millions of Baby Seats

19 skull fractures later, Bumbo adds a safety belt, and another warning label

By James R. Hood,

The Bumbo is a baby seat that helps babies sit up before they are able to do so on their own.

This is not a particularly good idea, since babies are not only top-heavy but also tend to be emotionally volatile and physically active. One good rock backwards and an infant can either fall out of the seat or cause it to overturn.

"I was in the bath and my 6-month-old son Billy was in the bathroom with me right next to the bath in his Bumbo playing with a toy when he dropped it. As he was reaching for it, he fell straight out onto his head," a mom named Zoe said in a ConsumerAffairs review in March. "I did not leave him alone. I was right next to him. The purpose of a Bumbo is so that they can sit unaided safely. You don't expect to have to hold them in the Bumbo just in case they fall out!"

It's bad enough if the seat is on the floor, as in Zoe's case, but it's potentially disastrous if it's on a table or a counter. This is not just a theoretical risk. There have been at least 50 accidents, including 19 skull fractures, since October 2007.

October 2007 is the magic date when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ordered a recall of about a million of the seats. Were they rounded up and destroyed? Fitted with seat belts? Equipped with safety helmets?

No. Instead, the "recall" consisted of mailing warning labels to parents, cautioning them not to let their children fall out of the seat.

So here we are more than four years later and there are now four million of the seats in the U.S. Once again, Bumbo is issuing a recall, this time to add not just another sticker but also a safety belt that will keep babies from falling out.

The belts won't keep the seats from falling over though. The new warning label will caution parents not to put the seats on an elevated surface or to leave children alone in the seat.

Read the entire article here.

Cell-phone tower construction rankles neighborhoods

By Rosemary Shinohara, Anchorage Daily News

New wireless communication towers are popping up in Anchorage, Mat-Su and elsewhere in Alaska as a big new company, Verizon Wireless, moves into the state and other cell phone companies upgrade their networks.

Verizon is set to begin Alaska service sometime in 2013.

The increase in cell towers is leading to conflicts in some areas between residents who don't want tall poles and antennas looming over their yards -- and companies competing to offer ever-more sophisticated cell phone services.

For example, east-side residents joined a battle this week over a proposal to build a 100-foot tower at 2100 E. Northern Lights Boulevard, in the parking lot of a medical building near Northern Lights and Lake Otis Parkway.

The city Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday rejected the tower site after city officials said it didn't fit with the College Village neighborhood just off Northern Lights.

In Turnagain, another controversy has developed over a plan to install a tower at a site off Wisconsin Street between 31st and 32nd avenues.

In the Valley, there's also trouble brewing. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough no longer requires permits to build towers, so residents may not even hear about plans until construction materials start arriving.

Read the entire article here.