A recent study has shown that an accessory found in your baby’s crib has led to an increased number of infant deaths: crib bumpers. In case you didn’t know, crib bumpers are padded blankets placed around a crib to prevent a baby’s limbs from sticking out the gaps. Doctors however have strongly advised against them.
The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, involved analyzing data on infant death between the years 1985 to 2012 from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. For this time period, 48 infants died in incidents involving the bumpers in their cribs. 146 babies, on the other hand, were involved in nondeadly incidents where they nearly suffocated, choked or strangled by the bumpers.
They also found that over the years, more and more babies died because of the bumpers. From 2006 to 2012, researchers found that 23 infant deaths were reported to have been caused by crib bumpers, three times higher than each of the three previous seven-year periods.
“Crib bumpers are killing kids,” said study author Dr. Bradley T. Thach, a professor emeritus of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in the U.S. in a statement. “The infant deaths we studied could have been prevented if the cribs were empty” of crib bumpers, he added.
The researchers suspect that there could be more deaths caused by crib bumpers that go unreported. Despite the data showing the dangers of crib bumpers, parents still continue to purchase them due to misleading advertising.
“When they go into a baby store to buy a crib, they see all cribs lined with bumpers, and that sends a false signal that if they are selling them, they must be safe,” Thach told Live Science.
As early as 2008 in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been strongly against the use of crib bumpers. According to the AAP, there is no evidence that bumpers protect against injury, but they do have a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.
Safe sleep and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) prevention guidelines by the AAP state that a baby’s crib should contain nothing but a firm mattress with a fitted sheet.
Sources: Nov. 24, 2015. "More Infant Deaths Blamed on Crib Bumpers". livescience.com Undated. "AAP Recommends Against Crib Bumpers for SIDS Prevention". parenting.com