Crib bumpers are decorative. They help make a baby’s crib look softer, warmer, and more visually appealing. Unfortunately, crib bumpers can also be dangerous. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents not use any crib bumpers at all.
The AAP has a lot of great advice for parents. Follow that advice, and you can help to keep your baby safe.
Many parents have heard the “back to sleep” advice from the AAP. The simple phrase makes it easy for parents to remember to place their baby on his or her back for sleep – and to do that each and every time. The purpose of this positioning is to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and other sleep-related deaths.
In addition, the AAP recommend that babies should always sleep on a firm surface. Parents should not use wedges or positioners to help the baby stay in place. The AAP also recommends that parents should keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers (which are also called bumper pads).
Crib bumpers put a baby at an increased risk of death by suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment. This is not a new finding. The AAP has been giving parents warnings against using crib bumpers for a very long time.
A study was published in November of 2015 that shows that some parents aren’t getting the message. A retired professor of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and two former researchers with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) took part in the study. They found that in the majority of incidences studied, crib bumpers were the sole cause of harm.
The study was a long-term one. It focused on 23 crib-bumper deaths that were reported to the CPSC over a seven year span of time (from 2006 to 2012). Infant deaths caused by crib bumpers were three times higher than the average of eight deaths reported in each of the three previous seven year spans. In other words, the incidence of infant deaths due to crib bumpers has gone up!
A review of CPSC data showed that 48 infant deaths from 1985-2012 were specifically attributed to crib bumpers. In the years 1990-2012, 146 infants were nearly suffocated, choked, or strangled by a crib bumper. The mean age of death was 4.6 months, with an age range of one to 22 months. The researchers note that when a baby’s nose or mouth is covered by a crib bumper, it causes the baby’s airway to become blocked.
Some experts are advocating for a ban on the sale of crib bumpers. Parents should not wait for that to happen. Remove the crib bumper right away.
Image by NICHD on Flickr
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