Crib bumper pads are a very common part of a baby bedding set and parents often use bumper pads thinking they are increasing the safety of their child’s crib. However, many groups are now recommending that parents skip the crib bumper, saying the need for them has passed, and that they may in fact be causing a safety risk for your baby.
Why Do We Use Crib Bumper Pads?
Crib bumper pads became popular of crib bedding sets in older-style cribs where the slats were far enough apart that a baby’s head could become trapped between the slats, posing a suffocation risk. Today, all cribs sold in the United States and Canada are required to have slats close enough together that it’s nearly impossible for an infant’s head to fit through.
So why do we still use the crib bumper pads?
For some parents, the reason may be as simple as liking the way the bumper pad looks as part of the nursery decor. The matched crib bedding sets in stores are often cute and the package deal makes for a nice coordinated nursery. Other parents are worried about their child’s arms and legs sticking through the crib sides. Health Canada reports that serious injury is not likely when a child puts his or her arms and legs through the crib slats. The baby will either remove their arm or leg from the slats if possible, or make enough noise to alert a parent for help.
Which Groups Have Recommended Against Bumper Pads?
Some major children’s safety organizations have recently suggested that parents and child care providers should remove crib bumper pads from crib bedding sets. The groups include: American Academy of Pediatrics, Health Canada, National Center for Health and Safety in Child Care, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the First Candle/National SIDS Alliance.
Why Do These Groups Recommend Against Crib Bumper Pads?
One reason child safety organizations recommend against baby bedding with crib bumpers is that they pose a risk of suffocation. Just like a pillow or thick blanket, crib bumper pads can restrict a babys’ breathing if the bumper is up next to the baby’s nose or mouth. Re-breathing of air is another concern with crib bumper pads. The bumper reduces the flow of fresh air around baby during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that some infants, when they are overheated or lack sufficient oxygen during sleep, are unable to arouse themselves enough to prevent hypoxia and death. The AAP states that re-breathing of air may in fact be a contributing factor to SIDS.
As parents, we need to make well educated decisions for our babys’ safety. Although there is much controversy over using baby bedding that includes crib bumper pads, the risk is very low. As a parent myself, I have confidently used crib bumper pads with both my children and have found that they provide a feeling of security. The bumper pads allow your baby to feel safe within their own space which in turn allows for better sleep.