bumpersI cleaned out the closet for houseguests last week and discovered an old bumper. Instead of giving it away I am literally cutting up the fabric for crafts and putting the rest in the garbage. A no-brainer savvy parenting tip: baby crib bumpers are dangerous. Don’t use them, don’t even give them to charity, don’t pass them on to friends. Let’s get them out of circulation, outsmart the marketers, protect these little babies.

Smart parents just don’t use crib bumpers. More data out this past month to prove it.

Crib bumpers are soft bedding that can pose risk of suffocation, entrapment, strangulation, or additional risks from causing a baby to be wedged into an unsafe position. It may seem like they protect babies, but there is no evidence they prevent serious injury in infants. Choosing a crib can be an exciting nesting activity, here’s tips for doing it with smarts.

Banning bumpers feels to many like an inconvenient truth. Perceived risk is low and they are so darn cute. But with all the time we spend as parents spend doing everything we can to protect our babies this is an easy opt-out. Forget spending time worrying about organic baby food and what brand of stroller of you want and just get rid of your bumper. Or better yet, don’t buy one in the first place. Let’s get them off baby registry lists, out of marketing and advertising and most importantly OUT of baby’s crib.

Bumpers are beautiful, and quintessentially “baby,” but they clearly pose risks. The calculus on “no-brainer” is clear here: bumpers are never necessary for an infant’s health and do pose risk. Even for those parents who worry about limbs between the slats or having to rescue the pacifier that gets tossed around the crib, the bumper is never the right choice.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has the means and authority to regulate this. If they banned the bumper sales, that would correct the problem largely.” ~ Dr. Bradley Thatch

A new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that 77  babies died nationwide from 1985- 2012 & their deaths were attributed to the crib bumper. The study’s lead author, Dr. Bradley Thatch calls for a nationwide ban on the sale of the crib product. It’s reported that Chicago and Maryland are the only places in the nation to currently forbid their sale. It’s possible the new data will ignite change.

Using data reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal regulatory agency that oversees consumer products, the study found that 23 babies died over a seven-year span between 2006 and 2012 from suffocation attributed to a crib bumper. That’s three times higher than the average number of deaths in the three previous seven-year time spans. In total 48 babies’ deaths were attributed to crib bumpers between 1985 and 2012. An additional 146 infants sustained injuries from the bumpers, including choking on the bumper ties or nearly suffocating.” ~ NPR Shots Blog

Boring, Bare, Basic Bedding Best For Baby

  • Control the temptation of “warmth & safety”and softness that bumpers are advertised to provide. Zero data bumpers are necessary and lots of data they could lead to increased risk of suffocation, strangulation, entrapment or wedging.
    • Avoid soft bedding, sleep positioners, bumpers (even the mesh ones!) stuffed animals, pillows and thick blankets both over & under the baby. Why I hate sleep positioners.
  • Back to sleep is still best, especially for infants under 6 months of age.
    • Always put babies to sleep on their back. Since the 1990’s SIDS deaths have been cut in half with recommendation of back sleeping and sleeping without soft bedding, in a separate sleeping surface from parents or animals.
  • Keep it cool.
    • Ideal temperature for sleeping infants is 65-68 degrees. No need to crank the thermostat at night, even during the cool winter.
  • We can learn from Finland — no need for fancy crib during early infancy.
    • Finland offers expectant families “baby box” or a “maternity packages” which include safe sleeping sacks (as opposed to blankets). It all comes in a box that is meant to be used as the baby’s first bassinet! Set new parents up for success.