Crib bumpers are common features in babies’ cribs, as they are often sold as part of crib bedding sets. These items, however, may be the single deadliest item in babies’ cribs, according to a study published in this month’s edition of the Journal of Pediatrics. And that’s because these researchers have discovered that, since 1985, crib bumpers have killed at least 77 infants in the U.S.
This had led to a renewed call for federal safety regulators in the U.S. to ban crib bumpers.
Researchers Reveal the Dangers of Crib Bumpers
In studying the dangers of crib bumpers versus other items in cribs, researchers analyzed various data and reports that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has collected over the past few decades. This analysis led them to conclude that:
- There have been far more crib bumper suffocations in the U.S. than previously thought – Up until this study, it was believed that crib bumpers had suffocated 27 infants in the U.S. since 1985. While study has indicated that the actual infant death rate related to crib bumpers may actually be three times that, there is a dangerous prevailing thought that these bumpers present no dangers to infants whatsoever.
- Crib bumpers were the primary cause of suffocation in the majority of these cases – This means that blankets, other bedding and even stuffed animals in cribs did not cause as many infant deaths as crib bumpers have.
- Even when other items in the crib may have suffocated infants, the crib bumper was still a contributing factor – In fact, researchers found that, in many cases, had the crib bumper not been present, the other items in the crib would not have suffocated babies.
- Crib bumper death reports have tripled since 2006 – It’s unclear at this time why there has been such an increase in these reports in recent years. Although it may be due to more deaths actually occurring, it’s also possible that more people are taking action to file reports than in previous years.
Based on these findings, researchers concluded in their study that:
Other than removing traditional bumpers from cribs, it is unlikely that voluntary standard requirements or safe sleep practices (e.g., back sleeping) can address the risk of suffocation when infants’ faces become covered by bumpers and who may suffocate or nearly suffocate from occlusion or rebreathing. To prevent these deaths and ALTEs, we recommend that CPSC ban traditional crib bumpers for sale in the US quickly. Preventing bumper deaths and injuries will only be possible if traditional bumpers are removed from the marketplace at the national level.
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