That innocent-looking crib bumper placed around the sides of a crib has been killing babies for years, according to an important study published in The Journal of Pediatrics. The journal highlighted infant death data from 1985 to 2012 published by the US Consumer Product Safety commission.
Crib bumpers are padded blankets or cushions placed on lateral sides of a crib to prevent bumps. However, instead of preventing bumps, they tend to contribute to babies accidentally getting suffocated, choked or strangled. In the said above periods, a total of 48 infant deaths were reported due to crib bumpers and 146 others nearly died.
Dr. Bradley T. Thach of the Washington University School of Medicine and author of the study was so alarmed that he was quoted by the SmartParenting.Com site as saying: “Crib bumpers are killing kids!” But advertisers go on promoting crib bumpers and parents just keep buying them because they look very useful. Besides, they look nice and practical for babies’ “safety.”
But the fact is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been strongly militating against the use of crib bumper pads since 2008. They further insist that there is no evidence pointing to the need of the crib accessory and no proof that it indeed protects the baby from bumps and other related accidents.
To be sure, the AAP recommended an almost “empty” crib in its guidelines to prevent the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There should be nothing in the crib except a firm and well fitted mattress and its fitted bed sheet. No toys, baby accessories, decors, or even bumpers should be placed in it, especially anywhere near the baby. Not even pillows.
New babies do nothing but sleep, cry and eat. They are not likely to bump their heads against the crib railing. When they become toddlers, they are better off being watched closely when at play than left in the care of bumpers to protect against accidents. Therefore, some baby safety experts see no need for them.
When toddlers look for fun inside their crib environs, they grab what’s available. And if they do grab anything, their first tendency is often to taste it or pull it around them. That’s when things get caught around their bodies or necks and may strangle them. Or, if swallowed, chokes them.
Babies, on the other hand, may try to turn to their sides to attempt lying on their stomach. The action can cause their hands to grab at things and accidentally place them over the face and cause them to suffocate.
Hence, it’s better to empty the crib of anything except the bed and sheet. That may make the crib drab and uninteresting, but it sure makes your baby or toddler safe.