I agree with laralou, I've noticed that when we go after the stuff and not the user people get offended because they use the "stuff" whatever it may be. I have a bucket n my bathroom. DD outgrew it as a carseat and I plop her down in it for my showers and for when I get in and out of the tub for her baths and showers so I don't worry about dropping her. I'm certainly not offended at someone calling it a bucket, in fact, we call it a baby tupperware because MIL's mom asked us if we had a "container" for dd when she was 6 days old. I have a highchair, a booster with a tray and probably some other "neglect devices" lying around, and I even use them for some things, but I don't neglect my daughter, kwim? While I am not offended by terminology that degrades these devices and appliances or whatever they are, I've ntoiced some folks get good and riled up about it.
That said, a frind of mine pointed out to me that some people refer to their carseat/ baby holder affectionately as "the bucket" so I don't think anyone should get too upset about it.
Back to the real topic, I am certainly not judging anyone's parenting styles or their own intuition about thier children, Lord knows you know your kids better than I do, but anthropologically speaking, children are designed to be held close, their instincts tell them it's supposed to be that way, and I think it is a reflection of our "modern" society that we think they want or need to be put down. Not only that, but our society requires that we put them down. To live a life even close to normal, we have to set our babies down to do some things. The problem I think is inherent in what we as a culture value, i.e. cars, houses, clothes, status in the form of jobs, etc., wanting these things separates us from our kids. When society's norm is all about separation and how many "baby containers" one can acquire at one's baby shower, it's easy to fall into the trap of separation which I probably don't have to point out is the opposite of attachment.
It may be that your frind thinks that these devices are cool and she had just wanted to play with them, kwim? Like I can't wait to feed dd solids even though she's not ready, just for yox. Like hey, maybe Lulu will like the jumper, let see... Look she's laughing, great, and then she puts her in there tomorrow and again the next day and it becames habit. Does that make sense?
I really don't want to get into it about specifics, but I have a hard time believing that so many babies (I mean all babies, not just MDC babies) want to be set down and that so many babies "need their space." I have a friend whose son is freakishly advanced and he is the most active and independent child I think I have ever seen and he doesn't "need his space." Babies are designed to be with their parents. Toddlers are like babies on wheels, they have baby brains and halfway kid abilities and they need lots of in arms time too, even if they also need lots of exploring time.
I'm glad your friend is realizing her daughter would benefit from in arls time, I think we all would.