Should crib bumpers be banned?
The number of deaths caused by crib bumpers increased significantly from 2006 to 2012, causing researchers at Washington University School of Medicine and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to call for a nationwide ban on the item.
This recent study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, revealed that of the 48 infant deaths specifically attributed to crib bumpers between 1985 and 2012, approximately 23 occurred between 2006 and 2012.
“Bumpers are more dangerous than we originally thought,” study author Dr. Bradley T. Thach said in a news release. “The infant deaths we studied could have been prevented if the cribs were empty.”
Most infants died due to suffocation because their noses and mouths were covered by a bumper or were between a bumper and a crib mattress, according to the study. Several health organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Health recommend against the use of bumpers.
Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., encourages safe crib practices by advising parents and caregivers to keep any soft objects, loose bedding and bumper pads out of the crib.
“No stuffed animals, no toys, no extra blankets,” Traeger cautions.
There are currently no federal regulations regarding crib bumpers, but Maryland and the city of Chicago have both banned the sale of crib bumpers within the past five years.
Researchers suggested that CPSC should follow this example and ban crib bumpers throughout the country.
“There is one sure-fire way to prevent infant deaths from crib bumpers,” Dr. Thach said. “Don’t use them, ever.”
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.