If there is one thing that has been an "essential" baby product, it's the Bumbo Baby Sitter. With its smooth clever shape and the readily identifiable hexagonal box (the presence of which, for some strange reason, increases the resale value on Kijiji and Craigslist!?), it can be found in more and more homes that have babies. And despite the recall (don't get me started on how I feel about recalls that are not about defective products but about owners thinking a product is going to take over the job of parenting for them...) the Bumbo Baby Sitter (hereafter referred to as "the Bumbo") is still very popular. It is useful from quite a young age (as soon as baby can hold his/her head steady), until your child either learns to squirm out of it or until his/her legs are too chunky to fit into the leg openings. I have the Bumbo in lime green, and bought it secondhand for my son when he was a baby. He wasn't huge at birth, but by the time he was steady enough with holding his head up, his legs were just about too chubby to fit (yes! true story!). So we did not get much use out of it for him. My daughter on the other hand, is 4 months now, and still fits into it (despite similarly chubby legs, they must just be a touch slimmer).
We take it with us when we go out to eat (OK, rarely, but on those rare occasions it helps), when visiting family, and even when I'm doing dishes or we're having dinner as a family at home. It's a very handy place to be able to put her when she wants to sit up and watch what we are doing. As long as she is in arms reach, we are comfortable putting her on the dining room table, or the kitchen counter (you would have to decide for yourself if you feel that's a good option for your situation). The chair has a wide base and a sturdy design so most babies sitting relatively still should be pretty safe where they are, as long as they are not unattended. If I could change any one thing I would make it have a functional handle or handles, so that a) it would be easier to carry from home to car and back again and b) so that it would be possible to carry the chair with baby in it from one surface to another.
The Bumbo is made of a soft foamy plastic type material (advertised as hygienic and non-toxic), it is wipeable/washable (you could even take a garden hose to it if a particular baby poo incident required that type of attention...). This is great because I know my babies like to spit up just as soon as they are sitting upright, and easy cleanup makes me happy. It comes in a bunch of bright, solid colours, and you can purchase an optional white play tray (which I suspect would be helpful in making the Bumbo double as a high chair for meals, though I haven't had a baby small enough to both fit in the Bumbo and eat real food yet).
You can read more about the Bumbo Baby Sitter at http://www.keendistribution.com/product/bumbo/bumboSeat.php. They even make really cute Bumbo covers! I don't know if I would give up the easy wash surface of the original Bumbo, but it is intriguing to be able to change the look of the Bumbo chair just by changing a cover.
Do you use a Bumbo chair? Does it make your life easier? Did you stop using it after the recall?