According to the statement released from the White House on 16 May 2022, the US president has signed legislation to prohibit the manufacture or sale of crib bumpers or inclined sleepers for infants. Based on the news, crib bumpers are soon to be banned, . Do Cribs need bumpers? Parents find crib bumpers useful, to prevent babies’ legs or hands get stuck in between the slats and also to prevent the babies from bumping against the hard slats. But, are they safe? Let’s see what experts say about this and why they are soon to be banned.
In Western countries, co-sleeping is not recommended therefore, babies are usually sleeping in a separate bed, in bassinets or cribs, attached to their parent’s bed, or in another room.
In Asia, most parents practice co-sleeping with their babies- either in a separate bed attached to the parent’s bed or the same bed, in the same room. Some Asian babies also sleep in a baby hammock – known as a cloth cradle. The use of cribs or baby cots is not common.
Do Cribs need bumpers?
What are crib bumpers? They are soft cushions, breathable fabrics, or mesh crib liners that lie around the edge of a crib. These soft cushions also come with various aesthetic design to make the crib looks warm and cozy-a perfect sleeping environment for your little one.
Without the bumpers, there is a risk of our babies getting bruises and bumps from the arms and legs being caught in between the wooden slats. What about the breathable fabrics or mesh crib liners? As these types of bumpers are breathable and will not cause suffocation hazards. AAP guidelines are clearly stated that any kind of bumper is unsafe for infants. Here are the risks of bumpers to the infants:
- The baby’s airway is blocked by the bumper pad and cause suffocations.
- The baby repeatedly inhales their own carbon dioxide (which collects in an air pocket of the plush bumper).
- The baby becomes wedged between the bumper and the crib rail (or another object).
- The baby is strangled by a bumper tie.
- The toddler will step on the bumper and climb outside the crib, causing falling hazards.
According to US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the bare crib is the best, with nothing but only a flat fitted sheet.
How do we prevent injuries as crib accidents are being reported? AAP stated that these bumpers will not help to prevent crib accidents but sometimes they are the causes of the accidents. These are some examples of the common injuries when babies are placed in a crib, with or without bumpers :
- head injuries- head hit on the side of a crib.
- limbs or legs are sticking out of crib bars and get stuck in between bars, sprain leg, or bone fracture.
- falling from a crib
- mouth injuries – hit mouth on the crib or get an injury to the inner mouth
There are some useful tips to help you.
Tips to prevent crib accidents
- Use A Pack N play, instead of a wooden crib. A Pack N Play is also a kind of play yard and most of them meet the requirement of AAP. Check with the seller whether they comply with safety standards. It must be clutter-free, with no blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, or other objects.
- Put your baby on a sleeping bag or a swaddle blanket to prevent their legs and arms from being caught in between the slats. Use swaddle for newborns only. Stop swaddling if your baby starts to roll over.
- Always monitor or check on your baby when you put her/him in a crib during nap time.
- Place the baby’s crib near to your bed, in the same room at least for the first 6-12 months to help you monitor your baby during nighttime also making it easier to feed, and comfort the baby.
- Do not let toddlers stay unattended in the crib alone for too long. Pick them up from the crib once they wake up, and move them to their playpen or play yard for safety reasons.
- Place your baby on a wide firm mattress with a comfortable sleep sack, no pillow, blanket, or other objects. Only let your baby sleep on the back.
Why crib bumpers are soon to be banned in the US?
Crib bumpers are not safe and there is a potential risk of suffocation, entrapment, and strangulations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). AAP recommended:
All babies sleep on their back, on a flat, firm, separate sleep surface such as a bassinet, play yard or crib, and to keep the baby’s sleep space free of blankets, bumpers, toys or other objects.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 113 baby deaths involving crib bumpers from 1990 to March 2019. This issue has been raised for many years and babies are dying cause of the bumpers.
In September 2007, a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics concluded that crib bumpers are unsafe. 27 infant deaths were linked to bumpers, either because the baby’s face was pressed against the bumper, causing suffocation, or because the bumper tie got caught around the baby’s neck.
Finally, on 16 May 2022, the US president signed legislation to prohibit the sales and manufacture of baby crib bumpers. This product has been proven to pose an unnecessary, deadly risk to sleeping infants. This legislation also applies to inclined sleepers for infants as almost 100 cases of infants death were linked to this product. For example, there are many series of infant death due to fisher-price Rock’n Play too.
Are Asian countries also going to ban the manufacturing and selling of crib bumpers? We have to wait for the announcement then.