To Bumper or Not to Bumper? A Word on Crib Safety

"Crib bumpers are killing kids..." - Dr. Bradley T. Thach, professor emeritus, pediatrics

Do you remember the Just Say No drug campaign from the late 80s to early 90s? It was all about how to ensure the youth didn't use drugs. I know, they were pretty corny. That was the first thing that came to mind as I thought about crib bumpers today. JUST SAY NO! Lately there has been a lot of controversy on the subject since the advent of the mesh bumper, making it hard for us parents to know what to do. So, before you get too attached to the beautiful bedding package you just bought that has a sweet little bumper, give me a moment to share some info with you.

crib bumpers
crib bumpers

In the US each year, there are around 4,000 sudden unexpected infant deaths. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, use of potentially hazardous bedding is a modifiable risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome and sleep-related suffocation.

As new parents, and even those of us on our second or third child (and fourth and fifth...wink), we are always on the hunt for the best and most beautiful nursery designs and products for our babies. We search and search until we find the perfect colors and/or themes to be able to tie in the bedding and knick-knacks throughout the room and on the wall. I can honestly remember going in to customize the bedding for both of my babies and seeing the endless options available. It was overwhelming to say the least and took a couple of hours to complete my order. That being said, many of the greatest stores, from low priced to high-end will always offer crib bumpers as an option for purchase. The thing we need to remember is that these are businesses. And while they may absolutely hope for a successful family for us, their goal is to sell products. You may learn from the salesperson all of the fashionable information related to crib bumpers, but what about their safety? I'm willing to bet my super favorite red Converse that if you asked multiple salespeople at different stores about whether you need to have this product, you won't always get the same answer. Some will say "yes!, for sure," while others may avoid the liability of answering you at all. Why have it be a question...know the answer.

crib bumpers
crib bumpers
**Please note that the photos in this post include an infant that is mobile and developmentally able to move from tummy/back; until that time baby MUST SLEEP ON THEIR BACK**

I know what you must be screaming right now, "But what about bumping their heads or getting stuck between the crib rails?!" I must admit, that is a very real fear and concern and everyone thinks it. Especially when babies start to wiggle and turn over, they have no clue of their surroundings. The answer may seem to be ironic, but truthfully it's not as bad as the alternative. When we think of bumping anything it makes us cringe when it comes to our baby. And no one wants their baby to hurt in any way;  this is precisely why we weigh our risks: bump/bruise on the head or suffocation from soft padding.

Some parents think the padding protects babies from bumping their heads against crib rails, "but we've found that if and when it happens, the result is only a minor bruise," Thach said.

crib bumpers
crib bumpers

My biggest hope is that educating ourselves on what's out there in the product world related to our precious babies helps keep them safe. Not all products are created equal or even with safety in mind. They sell cigarettes and alcohol, and those have the potential to cause harm to us, right?!

The Academy [The American Academy of Pediatrics], the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend against bumpers, but there are no federal regulations regarding their use.

While crib bumpers are still being sold and everything in parenting is a decision, please keep in mind that the goal of safe sleeping is to decrease all risks by being aware. By choosing to forego the crib bumper, you are indeed making your baby's sleep environment safer!

The ABCs of Sleep

A-Newborns/Infants should ALWAYS sleep ALONE in an empty crib (bassinet)

-on a firm mattress that should be nearby the parent/caregiver

B-They should ALWAYS be placed on their BACKS to sleep

-unless otherwise stated by your physician!

C-Your baby should ALWAYS sleep in their CRIB (bassinet)

-after nursing/feeding, place the baby back into their crib (bassinet)!

>>All quotes used in this post feature links to the original article sources<<

>>>Please understand that sleep safety for babies is not limited to the info in this post<<<

Until next time...

XO

Nurse Jacque