South African company Bumbo
revolutionised the baby seat market when it introduced its classic Bumbo seat in 2001. A big hit with parents across the globe, the idea behind the seat is it helps your baby’s posture by encouraging them to sit up by themselves.
Since its launch, the original Bumbo has been recalled on a couple of occasions in some countries over concerns about its safety – as some of our parents found out. The company has since addressed the issue though, and the Bumbo Multi Seat has the extra safety feature of a three-point harness.
Its closest competitor is the Ingenuity Baby Base 2-in-1 Booster Seat (£35-£39.99, depending on the colour), that also has an insert, three-point harness and tray, and can be used either on the floor or as a booster seat. Then there’s the Mamas and Papas Baby Snug that retails at around £49, but this can only be used as a floor seat and doesn’t have a harness.
As a mum of two young boys; Ellis – my eldest, is just over 2 years old, and Theo – my youngest, has just turned one, it’s fair to say I have my hands full. And, like any parent, there are times when I really need five minutes to get on with things. The Bumbo Multi Seat seems like the ideal solution. You can pop them in it for a few minutes knowing they’re strapped in and safe.
I love that the Bumbo Multi Seat is so versatile and easy to use. It’s also light, which is handy, as I can use it pretty much anywhere in our flat. Living in London means we’re short on space – another reason the Bumbo Multi Seat is a winner. It’s compact and has clever features including my favourite – the stowaway tray.
Theo is big fan of the Bumbo Multi Seat. Ellis was initially excited by it, but like most toddlers was more interested in trying to climb on it, which is something to watch out for. The other thing to be aware of is that, although this version of the Bumbo has an added safety feature – the harness, Theo was able to tip over in it. Using his body weight he rocked backwards and forwards in it and knocked it forwards. Thankfully I used it in our living room, which is carpeted.
I love the colourful design. Our seat is lime green and white, but there is a range of colours including turquoise and purple. It’s also surprisingly lightweight so it’s easy to carry from room to room – brilliant if you need to use it for mealtimes on the go or visiting family or friends. It’s so portable you can take it with you. I was also really impressed by the space-saving touches, especially the stowaway tray.
How does it compare to other baby seats you have used?
I inherited a bouncy chair that we used for both our boys, which was great for keeping them safe when they were very little. The problem is, with the exception of a couple of quite pricey ones, most bouncers are only suitable for babies up to about 9 months or until they can sit up by themselves. The Bumbo Multi Seat can be used up to the age of around 3 years (or 15kg) giving it a much longer shelf life.
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How comfortable does it feel for your little one?
The Bumbo Multi Seat looks very comfy for both boys but it might be slightly less cosy once they get bigger and the foam insert is removed. They were content to sit in it, although Ellis got restless after a minute or two and wanted to get out. But, he has so much energy he barely sits still anyway.
What is the difference between the Bumbo Multi Seat and the regular Bumbo floor seat?
The Bumbo Multi Seat seems a lot more secure than the original Bumbo. It has a harness so you can secure your little ones into it, and has two adjustable height settings. The straps also mean you can use it as a booster seat or a high chair. You can secure it onto a normal chair, whereas the original Bumbo should never be placed on top of any kind of surface other than the floor. The leg openings on the Multi Seat are wider and it also comes with the stowaway tray.
What age is the Bumbo Multi Seat suitable for?
The Bumbo Multi Seat is suitable for babies aged 6 months who can sit unaided, up to 3 years, or 15kg (33lbs).
Tell us about how the Bumbo Multi Seat can grow with your child
The great thing about the Bumbo Multi Seat is its longevity. Because of its design it can be adapted so you can use it as your little ones grow. The height of the seat is adjustable as there are two settings, and it comes with a foam insert that can be removed as they get bigger.
You can buy the Bumbo Multi Seat at Mothercare, Argos and Babies R Us
What do you think of the seat size?
The seat size feels just right for Theo with the foam insert. His chubby legs are secure but not too squashed. One of the comments about the original Bumbo was that people found the leg space could be a bit tight. Ellis is also able to sit in it with the insert but he is on the small side.
Does the Bumbo Multi Seat feel robust and durable?
It definitely feels robust and built to last. The boys have knocked it over lots of times when they haven’t been in it and there’s not a mark on it. My only concern is how stable it is as Theo managed to tip over in it.
How easy is it to store?
The seat is lightweight and easy to store and has a couple of nifty space-saving features. The tray slots into the back and the foam inset can be stored inside the base if you’re not using it. The retractable seat straps are brilliant as it means they don’t get in the way when you’re not using them. The only thing to watch out for is if you have older children they may try and use it as a step. I’ve noticed if I leave it in our living room when Theo’s not sitting in it Ellis is always attempting to stand on it so he can reach the table, or any other object he knows he’s not supposed to touch.
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Is it easy to clean?
Very. It’s plastic so you can just wipe it down.
What do you think of stowaway tray?
This is a great addition. It’s handy as I can sit Theo in the Bumbo and and give him his snacks and the crumbs end up on the tray, not on the floor. It’s also great if I’m in the same room doing something. I just give him a book and a toy to play with on the tray, and he’s entertained. I also love that it slots into the back of the Bumbo Multi Seat so it’s not taking up any extra room. It’s really easy to slot into place but it can sometimes be a little fiddly to get it out again if Theo’s sitting in it You need to reach underneath and squeeze the button to release it.
How secure do the straps feel when it’s attached to a chair?
The straps feel pretty secure when the Bumbo Multi Seat is attached to a chair and you can adjust them to make sure they fit nice and tightly. There are two straps on either side of the seat. The two closest to the back attach round the back of a chair and the two nearest the front attach round the sides so it’s doubly safe. But however secure it feels, I categorically wouldn’t leave Ellis or Theo in it without being in the room with them – not for a second.
What is the harness like?
The harness straps across the waist, the buckle is in the middle and the straps slot into either side. It feels secure but it sometimes takes a bit of effort to undo the clasp. The only thing to watch out for is that it loosens quite easily. Ellis sometimes plays with the straps and loosens them so I have to make sure I tighten them again before I use it.
What age child is it best for, do you think?
I think it’s best for babies and little ones who aren’t yet on the move. Ellis is 2 years old and although he easily fits into the Bumbo Multi Seat he gets restless and wants to get out, whereas Theo is often more content to just sit there.
What’s in the box?
- Bumbo Multi Seat with foam insert
How easy or difficult is it to assemble the Bumbo Multi Seat?
Putting the Bumbo together takes less than a minute. The trickiest bit is threading the harness through the foam insert, and even that’s straightforward. The instructions were full of lots of warnings, but, I was still none the wiser as to when I’d need to adjust the height or remove the foam insert. The latter I’m assuming is when your child is too big to fit into the Bumbo Multi Seat with it in. I also watched a video to make sure I knew exactly how to secure the straps when using it as a booster seat.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
Obviously common sense tells you that you shouldn’t leave your child unattended in it while you’re using it on a chair as a booster seat or high chair. But, I did think about leaving the boys in the Bumbo Multi Seat on the floor if I needed to pop to the loo. This is a BIG no no. Twice Theo managed to tip the Bumbo over while strapped in it. On one occasion he actually crawled across the room with it still attached behind him. It does state in the instructions that children should never be left unattended in it.
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Who would the product be most useful for?
Busy parents who want to keep their babies or toddlers, safe while they’re getting on with jobs in the same room. Or parents on-the-go who are after a portable highchair or booster seat.
Has the product or the parent company won any awards?
The original Bumbo has sold millions worldwide. The Bumbo Multi Seat is the Made for Mums Silver Award Winner 2017 for best baby bouncer/swing/seat.
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Is it good value for money?
The Bumbo costs £49.99 and is excellent value for money, especially considering all of its functions. The Mamas and Papas Baby Sung will set you back £49 and can only be used as a chair.
Made for Mums verdict
Portable and practical this is a clever space-saving chair that grows with your baby. But it is possible for them to tip over in it if you’re using it on the floor so you need to keep an eye on your little one at all times.
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