"Parents, Don't Use Crib Bumpers" Says Study

From 1985 to 2005, crib bumpers—the soft padded things parents use to protect their little bundles of dna from injury—have caused 27 deaths and 25 injuries in babies 2-years-old or younger, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Two universities are now cautioning that crib bumpers may not be worth the risk.

One of the authors behind the study says that babies sometimes get tangled in the padding and can’t squirm free:

Many infants lack the motor development needed to free themselves when they become wedged between the bumper pad and another surface. If the pads are too soft, the baby’s nose or face can get pressed up against it, and the baby suffocates. If they are too firm, the baby can climb up on the pads and fall out of the crib.

Of the 22 commercially available crib bumper products the study looked at, they found that “several had long ties that could strangle babies,” and all left space between the bumper and the mattress, where a baby’s head could get stuck.

“Crib bumpers can do more harm than good: U.S. study” [Reuters]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Lavanaut says:

    As a new father I pay close attention to this type of stuff. But uh, 27 deaths in *20* years? What hasn’t caused that many deaths in as much time? This isn’t exactly shocking news.

  2. bnb614 says:

    Clearly no one wants to see children die by any means, and every death is a tragedy. But isn’t this a little over the top?

    27 deaths + 25 injuries = 52 problems in a 20 year period.

    Wikipedia says 245 kids worldwide are born each minute. But just looking at the U.S., it is estimated approximately 4,000,000 births in the U.S. each year. So over 20 years, that would be 80,000,000 births.

    52 out of 80,000,000 is .000065000%.

    I agree with the title of this post. Scaring new parents. For no reason.

    Aren’t there more important infant mortality/health issues to deal with?

  3. allthatsevil says:

    “…and all left space between the bumper and the mattress, where a baby’s head could get stuck.”

    That just sounds like they didn’t put it on right. If they’re talking about space below the bumper then they tied it on too high. If they mean space between the rails and the mattress then their mattress isn’t big enough for the crib and it has nothing to do with the bumper.

    Also, the ties should go on the outside of the crib where the baby can’t get to them.

    And suffocating because it’s too soft? Babies who are that young should be placed in the center of the crib, not up against the side. If they’re too young to turn their head away from the bumper to keep from suffocating, then they’re also too young to roll over to it in the first place.

    Did the people who conducted this study know anything about babies?

  4. WV.Hillbilly says:

    More advice from our national nanny, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  5. EtherealStrife says:

    Condoms cause TRILLIONS of infant mortalities every DAY. Get with the program, new parents. Ban these horrendous baby killers NOW.

  6. infinitysnake says:

    ALLTHATSEVIL, I think the issue is babies sometimes squirm between the bumper and the crib and can’t get loose.

  7. Graedus says:

    The solution is pretty simple for this relatively small problem. Cribs could be made in a barrel-like shape, where there are no corners that the baby could get stuck in. Also, the baby would be unable to roll out because, well, its a baby and can’t.

    Ban corners.

  8. faust1200 says:

    I think there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done on….rubber baby buggy bumpers…rubber baby buggy bumpers…rubber baby buggy bumpers.

  9. erica.blog says:

    The whole crib bumper thing is pretty bogus anyway. I had one (it came with a whole sheet and blanket set) but its only apparent purpose was to add extra frilly bits to the crib “look.”

    Solution: don’t put dumb looking decorative-only crap on your baby’s crib. You’ll save money, the baby will be safer, win-win! (I do feel a bit bad that my second child is doomed to a life of cheap, undecorative boredom since I have learned so many lessons on what child gear is basically crap…)

    @Graedus: they’ve done product research into things like that (not barrels exactly, but cribs with rounded edges, no slats, etc). Parents didn’t like the look because it seemed like they were putting the baby in a fishbowl. They understood it was safer, but “it just didn’t look right.” (Unfortunately, this probably also means that the whole “don’t buy crib bumpers” advice won’t fly.)

  10. Floobtronics says:

    We’ve got a crib bumper in our daughter’s (6 months) crib. It’s made of a mesh material that doesn’t have ties (velcro at the ends. The only reason it’s there? Our daughter loves to shove her arms between the slats of the crib and get stuck. Now she doesn’t. Since it’s mesh, suffocation is pretty much impossible, and now she can’t get her arms all jammed up.

    The decorative stuff? Bah.

    And I bet more kids have been hurt in that 20 year period because they got dropped somehow. Or, they started walking, fell, and cracked open their heads in some way. Like our son did about a month after he started walking. There he was, tired, walking around the living room in that half-asleep state, when he tripped on his own feet and whacked his forehead on the baseboard. Looked nasty at first, but after the doc cleaned him up, it was a nice clean cut. They essentially super-glued his head (the stuff’s called dermabond – cool stuff).

  11. FLConsumer says:

    @Graedus: You know… you could probably take a beer keg, cut out a little section, then hinge it. When it’s time to put the little one to bed, you just open up their little keg krib and drop ‘em in. No corners, no real for them to escape & hurt themselves. Maybe put a little bit of padding in there for comfort.

  12. When I was a baby I apparently didn’t get attracted to any teddy bear, doll, or blankie. I got addicted to my crib bumpers. I think the baby inside of me is crying.

  13. mopar_man says:

    I would be more worried about parents buying lead-tainted toys at Wal-Mart than I would be about the bumpers.

  14. Christo67 says:

    Of course parents could always resort to this option

    http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=1403941682&size=o

  15. synergy says:

    @Christo67: rotfl Looks good to me!

  16. cgi5877 says:

    I would be more worried about idiot moms leaving kids left to die in the car.
    [abcnews.go.com]

  17. @erica.blog: “but its only apparent purpose was to add extra frilly bits to the crib “look.””

    They used to matter at least a little when crib bars were farther apart, and they wanted parents to use bumpers so very small babies couldn’t get their heads caught between the bars. But I’m pretty sure the bars have to be way close together now to prevent that anyway.

  18. endless says:

    if your baby manages to kill itself using a crib bumper, let darwin take what he can get. which isnt much anymore.