Despite public awareness, infant deaths are increasing from crib bumpers, according to a new study.
Parents believe that bumpers are necessary for safety, but experts say that bumpers are more risky than originally thought.
Crib bumpers are pillow-like walls installed around the inside of cribs for the safety of babies. But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) do not recommend using crib bumpers, because they do pose a risk of suffocation.
After analyzing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s from between 1985 and 2012, researchers found that there were a total of 48 infant deaths were due to bumpers during the period.
According to the study, the age of babies died during the period ranges from one to 22 months. Between 2006 and 2012, the researchers identified 23 deaths by suffocation related to a crib bumper. Moreover, 32 were alone were caused by crib bumpers. The study found that about 67% of the deaths were caused by the bumpers, while other deaths were due to infants being stuck between bumpers and other objects.
“These deaths are entirely preventable,” states N.J. Scheers, who is the study’s lead author and former manager of the CPSC’s infant suffocation project. “Babies either got their face caught in the bumper and couldn’t breathe or they got wedged between the bumper and something else in the crib. In all of these instances, Scheers says, “If there were no bumper, the baby would not have died.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American SIDS Institute advise parents not to use crib bumpers due to risks. Chicago is the first U.S. city to ban the sale of crib bumpers. The ban was announced in 2011.
Experts say that a nationwide ban is required on crib bumpers. However, exceptions can be given to mesh or breathable bumpers and vertical bumpers wrapping around each individual crib rail.
Currently, the CPSC is working on recommendations on how to regulate crib bumpers.