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Academy of Pediatricians Warns Against Use of Crib Bumper Pads

Did you know a popular bedding product could put your baby at risk? The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new guidelines that warn bumper pads should not be used in cribs because babies can suffocate against or be strangled by them. The new stance was part of updated policies to create safer sleep environments for babies and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

Despite the warning from the pediatrician group, the safety of bumper pads is still being hotly debated. The trade group for makers and sellers of infant bedding says bumper pads, which wrap around the inside of a crib and tie to crib slats, help prevent head injuries and limb entrapment. It also disputes there is evidence that the products can cause babies to suffocate.

But the academy’s new guidelines state there is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries and say they pose a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment.

“We weighed the pros and cons and the evidence, and felt that the safest thing would be to keep bumpers out of the crib altogether,” said Dr. Fern R. Hauck, a member of the academy’s SIDS task force and a professor of family medicine at the University of Virginia.

According to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune, federal regulators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission have received reports for years of babies suffocating against bumper pads, yet they have failed to warn parents or investigate all the deaths. The Tribune claims regulators have dragged their feet in taking a stance on the safety of bumper pads, saying they are trying to determine if there is a scientific link between bumper pads and suffocation, or if blankets, pillows, or medical issues caused the babies’ deaths.

In response to the Tribune’s stories, the city of Chicago and state of Maryland recently prohibited sales of crib bumpers, often packaged as part of bedding sets.

Bumpers were originally made to cover spaces between crib slats that were too far apart. Regulations changed in the 1970s, mandating that slats be spaced closely enough that babies wouldn’t fall out or get their heads caught. So while the products are no longer needed to protect babies, they are still widely sold.

Source: Baltimore Sun