Yes, I've used one. For short period of time for babies with good head control it's a fine option, especially in the circumstanes you mentioned. I've heard it can be bad on their backs if they are younger, but I would guess that's for long-term use (most people overuse baby devices like this).
I used one a bit that someone loaned me. I don't know how much they cost but it's a very small-window item to me. I say that because by the time my kids could sit in it, it wasn't long before they turned their bodies and could twist and I was always worried they'd fall out.
We used ours a ton with DD-- maybe from 5 m to 10 months or so. It was her only high chair during that time. With the feeding tray it seemed as secure as any other baby seat to me. And, I liked that it kept her very close to us. I would put her in it on the back of the kitchen counter while I chopped veggies, for example, and that allowed her to watch what I was doing and allowed us to interact while I cooked. We also put her in it on top of the table for feeding. That allowed her to be in arms reach at all times-- unlike more conventional high chairs-- and allowed us to interact more since we were at the same eye level.
Yes, she theoretically could have wiggled around and gotten out but we were within arms reach so she wouldn't have gotten anywhere and it would have taken her a (long) while and she wasn't the type of kid to try. A more adventurous kid might have a problem with it but we found it to be totally secure and safe.
I was really shocked when they were recalled. It was among the best 5 baby products we had (including each wrap and sling separately!) and I'm fully intending to use it again with the new babe once she can sit up.
We used one for a short period with ds & have one now that we use occasionally for dd. I have never used the tray myself. I do like them & find them useful for a short period, but because the window is soooo short ime I find it hard to justify the cost so I have just borrowed them.
The thing to consider would be how big a baby you have. We didn't start solids with ds until 7 months & he was definitely too big for the bumbo by then, I suspect dd will be similar.
I don't think there is anything unsafe about them when used responsibly.
I used a Bumbo-like chair for my first child during that little window when she had outgrown the bouncy seat but wasn't quite ready to sit completely on her own. It was mostly just for fun for her (she really wanted to sit up and enjoyed the view), but it also gave me a nice little spot to put her down when I needed a minute to do something.
I agree with the others that said it has a limited life though, so it might be best to borrow one or find one used. Also, it doesn't work for all babies. My second child's legs were entirely too chubby to make it work.
For a portable compact feeding chair that will last much longer, I'd recommend the little Fisher Price booster seat. It has a nice little washable tray, is really easy to clean (just wipe it down), and it can be used without the tray as a regular booster. I definitely got my money's worth out of ours.
I have a Bumbo that was gifted to me and I purchased the tray for it. I mainly use it on the floor in the living room with the tray and some toys on the tray for her, or in the kitchen on the floor with the tray and toys, to keep her occupied while I wash dishes or fold laundry. She also has a bouncy seat, but I like to offer her something new each time I have to set her down. She's never in it for more than 45 minutes or so - and that's if I have a LOT of dishes or laundry, and she's in my sight the whole time. I am so insanely terrified she will dieofsomethingstupidIdid that I will probably not use it on a chair to feed her when that time comes, but instead I will purchase a high chair. That seems safe enough to me if you're staying right there with them, but she's my first so I still have the fear in me.
Yes, we used one with DS and it was handy to have. I bought mine used, so cost wasn't an issue. They're easy to clean and relatively indestructable, so used is a good way to go. And you can re-sell it when you're done with it too.
I've found it safe to use. The good thing about the tray is that it also means your little one can't arch their back and squirm their way out. I did use it on my counter (which is a really wide island) when I was standing right there preparing food, so that DS and I could interact. I also did use it on a chair when DS was older. The chair had a high back and arms on both sides and again, only when I was right there with DS while he ate at family dinners (we have a booster for travel now, but the bumbo was better when he was smaller). So I felt safe using it higher up as long as I was right there the whole time.
DS was never in it for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, but it was still great to have for those brief periods.
It was handy and I liked it.
I hadn't heard that they had been recalled...I also bought my feeding tray new as the used one I purchased didn't come with one. They are always on kijiji here as well. I think it's like a bouncy seat or anything else, you can't be safe using it elevated and unattended. Bad combo. That being said, they are very very sturdy because the base is so wide. I stopped using mine when DS was strong enough (and inclined to) arch his back and try to "pop" himself out. The feeding tray would likely prevent him from arching far enough to tip the bumbo, but I didn't want to take the chance (elevated or on the floor).
The Bumbo was one of a very few baby gadgets that we LOVED. We DID use it on the kitchen table...plopped our LO in in during mealtime, right in the middle of the table and used him as a lovely centerpiece. He enjoyed being in the middle of meal action. For a time, it worked wonderfully for us and him both.
We did not have a tray.
Our guy never fit in his...the one time I wedged him in it (at four months) his chubby little but and thighs got stuck and when I picked him up the chair came with him! Another friend that had one said her LO spit up every time she put him in it.
Re: the recall - my understanding it was simply because they didn't have the required warning stickers on them - not due to something actually wrong with the chairs.
We used ours from 4-5 months to a year with no problems, it was wonderful. We also have only a walk-in shower, no tub, so I would put my son in the Bumbo and bring him into the shower with me, it was great! (The bottom of my shower is flat tile, it wouldn't work if it were curved like a tub.) When he got chubbier, we had to perform a Bumbo-ectomy and pop it off his legs and butt when lifting him out but he never complained, ha!
We had the babypod and I found it had a small amount of use. I wouldn't choose to pay money for it-- this is something you want someone to lend you. I think it would be super annoying to clean. It really isn't designed for feeding.
This however is a genuine wonder and what I choose a 1,000 times over our fancy high chair. http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Healthy-Care-Booster-Green/dp/B004C43JJ4/ref=pd_cp_ba_3/180-0062103-4027227
Ditto on the Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster- much more useful for much longer than the Bumbo. I've used ours with all three of our kids from 4-5 months until 3 or so- when they were old enough to sit in an Ikea youth chair. We have a Bumbo, too, and it lives in front of the toilet in the master bathroom so I can poop without a baby on my lap.
Wehad one and used it like once every 2 weeks or so with both our youngest sons when they were able to hold their heads up, but neither seemed to like it much. Then our youngest sons physical therapist suggested it highly for building muscle tone and teaching kids to sit using the proper muscles, he did like it better then, but he was older, like 7-9 months old, by that point.