SIDS awareness organizations have long tried to educate parents about the ways children can die in their sleep, and bumper pads have always been near the top of the list.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently took the position that bumper pads pose a risk for suffocation, strangulation or entrapment, and should never be used.
Effective April 4, 2012, the sale or lease of crib bumpers was prohibited in the city of Chicago. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, however, maintains that the benefits of bumpers far outweigh the drawbacks, and that unintended consequences will result should the sale of bumper pads be banned.
The executive director of JPMA said “the elimination of bumpers from the marketplace will encourage parents to use towels, adult blankets, or pillows as a protective barrier from the hard wooden surface of the crib slats.”
Adding these makeshift bumpers to a crib, as well as stuffed animals and other pillow-like products, will ultimately pose an even greater risk to your child.
Bumper pads are one part of a crib bedding ensemble, and are typically sold as part of a complete packaged set. Some bedding companies have already started to package bedding sets without a bumper pad.
As an alternative, Baby’s Room & Kids Too now carries a line of “breathable” crib liners. These bumper substitutes are made of lightweight mesh fabric, providing protection from the crib slats, and also allow airflow should a child roll up against it. And any bumper pad or liner should be removed from the crib once your child can sit up or pull up to a standing position.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is taking an expanded look into bumper safety with the formation of an expert panel, and new recommendations and guidelines will be issued. For now, the CPSC has not found any casual connection between bumpers and suffocation.
The issue of crib bumper safety will continue to be debated at all levels. Parents will have to make this decision to the best of their abilities. Additional info on the proper use of bumpers is available at www.cribsafety.jpma.org.
Let us know what you think, and we’ll help answer any questions you may have.