baby crib nursery bumper controversyUPDATED 3/20/2017 Crib safety is a big issue if you have a baby. There are many products that some safety advocates say post a real danger to your child. 

Safety group says stop using crib bumpers

When you walk through a baby store, you’ll see cribs displayed with bumpers. It’s amazing stores still display the cloth crib bumpers, despite the controversy surrounding the bumpers.

Also, it’s surprising how many parents still buy the cloth bumpers.

That’s why some groups feel the bumpers should be banned.

The cloth bumpers are usually made of fabric and filled with fiber fill or foam.

There are cloth versions, mesh, and individual crib slat covers.

For years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned parents of the padded crib bumper danger. The safety group estimates dozens of infants die every year from soft bedding in their sleeping environment. It’s not just bumpers that are an issue.

In late 2016, the CPSC issued a strong statement on the bumpers warning parents that “We strongly believe the risk of death from padded crib bumpers far outweighs any purported benefits.” When it comes to any child’s safe sleep environment, bare really is best.”

According to the safety group, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, cushions, pillows, and sleep positioners should not be in the crib, play yard, or bassinet.

Studies padded bumpers in the crib contribute to infant deaths. However, the CPSC has fallen short of banning the crib bumpers.

American Academy of Pediatrics wants bumpers banned

The American Academy of Pediatrics is disappointed the CPSC didn’t ban the padded bumpers. The safety group is only warning parents not to use them and put the responsibility on parents rather than manufacturers.

“Urging parents not to purchase crib bumpers while allowing them to remain on the market is confusing, and inappropriately places the burden of safety on parents while needlessly exposing infants to risk of death,” said AAP President Benard Dreyer, MD, FAAP.  “Parents tell us that ‘if they sell them, they must be safe.’  Pediatricians and child health advocates will continue to call on the CPSC to protect infants by banning these dangerous products that serve no child health benefit.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics has the follow recommendations for parents. They believe infants should be placed on their back to sleep until the child is 1 years old. This reduces the risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Sleep should only take place in a bassinet or crib.

They believe that since there is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injury, they should not be used. The risk for strangulation, suffocation, and entrapment outweighs the benefits.

You should not let your child sleep in bed. They should only be brought into bed for feeding or comfort.

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes bumpers are decorative only, and serve no safety purpose.

Crib bumper alternative

Breathable baby bumpers are now sound in stores. However, child safety groups recommend nothing in the crib.

There are crib bumper alternatives, that are even improved upon the breathable brand of bumpers. These do not wrap around the crib. The Go Mama Go Wonder Bumpers are tied onto the individual slats, so there are natural gaps.

We used them, with no problem, but only after our daughter could roll over. That being said, we did not keep them in the crib long, and made sure she was moving around before using them.

Again, the recommendation is no bumper. However, many parents still use them.

Should manufacturers stop making crib bumpers?

Some safety groups say manufacturers simply need to stop making the crib bumpers.

The debate has raged for years. In 2011, The Illinois Attorney General sent a letter to the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association about the dangers of crib bumpers.  She wants production and the sale of these bumpers to stop, and the Attorney General wants JPMA to release the results of its study into the risks associated with the bumpers.

“The JPMA and its manufacturers cannot sit by and wait for regulators to decide how, and if, crib bumpers should be used,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Their disregard for the danger posed by these products creates a very real danger.”

Madigan is concerned that these bumpers can lead to suffocation or strangulation.

“JPMA has failed to appropriately respond in light of these deaths,” Madigan said. “One infant death due to bumper pad use is too many. We must act now to remove bumpers from store shelves, stop production and work to educate caregivers to this threat.”

JPMA does not address this letter on its site, but it does have a Sleep Safe campaign dedicated to crib safety, including a video to show parents how to safely put their child to bed safely.

Sleep positioners are also a concern. These help keep babies on their back while they’re sleeping. The CPSC issued warnings about those in 2010.