Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Are Crib Bumpers Hurting Babies?

Eight years ago when I went baby crib set shopping for the first time I selected a beautiful Amy Coe set: the soft blues and greens in a vintage toile circus managed to be classic and modern at the same time. The skirt, the sheets, the blankets, the bumper, all matching and necessary, right?

Wrong.

At least that’s what the research is now suggesting. Those crib bumpers may be deadly. Laura Maxwell and her husband lost their seven week old baby, Kyle, in February of 2010 when he suffocated on his crib bumpers. Devastating.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission knows of 690 deaths between 1992 and 2010 linked to pillows and cushions in cribs, and bumpers are next on the list. I’m sorry, what? Almost 700 deaths over 18 years? Out of 52 deaths with possible links to bumpers, 27 were conclusively linked. How does that compare? Less than 10 babies are kidnapped from their mothers every year.

But what new mom hasn’t had the experience of walking into the nursery and seeing her baby with their arm or foot stuck in the slats of the crib, crying in pain? Or baby bumping their head on the slats while pushing themselves around and about? Bumpers seem like the intuitive way to solve the hard wood-soft head conundrum. I know at least one company is making mesh bumpers and more are making “breathable” bumpers, but are they still too scary to put in the crib?

I put the bumper away when my second was about 5 months old–the bedskirt, too. He spent half the time in my bed anyway.

My beautiful Amy Coe set sits at the back of my linen closet waiting for no baby.

I’ve been trying to find a new crib set for the impending arrival of my daughter. After reading the recommendations from child safety professionals, I think I’ll be going with the basics, not an actual set, and skipping the bumper.

Are you convinced to skip the bumper?

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Comments (10)

  1. Ambrose Annarummo 04/04/2013 at 4:16 pm

    Safety is paramount when choosing a baby crib. The best baby cribs will have Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This certification ensures that it meets and surpasses many US safety regulations. So, only looking at brands with a JPMA certification is a good place to start. Brands like Munire, Bellini and Bassett cribs as well as others have JPMA certification.;

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  2. Laurie 08/13/2012 at 6:56 pm

    It’s just so hard b/c so many babies are just fine…. but one report is all it takes. I am about to have my second son and a lot of things I counted on are no longer “safe.”

    I guess we all decide for our self what’s worth it for our families.

    Personally I never thought my sling was so dangerous.

  3. Shirley 06/13/2012 at 12:29 pm

    My twins are 4 now – I bought our bedding separate – and we never used bumpers due to the research that had been out back then. I am like a previous poster – my kids’ heads were fine, I don’t remember really getting legs or arms stuck. Actually, maybe they got stuck once when they were standing in their cribs and playing -nothing a bumper would prevent at that time. Glad my kids didn’t need them – gave me piece of mind.

    BTW – at one point, BRU would let you turn your bumpers in (from sets) in exchange for either a store credit or a % off your next purchase.

  4. Patricia 05/16/2011 at 12:11 pm

    I know they say crib bumpers are dangerous, but all 3 of my children slept in a crib with crib bumpers back in the 1970’s and the 1980’s. I never once had a problem with them harming my children.
    My heart goes out to the parents who lost children because of crib bumpers.

  5. Corissa 05/11/2011 at 3:07 pm

    I used bumpers for about a full two weeks. When my first was an infant, she couldn’t roll or move enough to warrant it. And when she did get to moving, She got her arm stuck underneath one of the bumpers. And, I had a good friend lose her baby to SIDS. SInce we live in an arctic climate, we had the heater on and it gave me the creeps to think about lack of ventilation with a bumper. Between those two things, that was it. I took them out and she was fine. I don’t advise using them at all.

  6. Erica Fehrman 05/10/2011 at 6:38 am

    I used a thick bumper at first and then switched to a mesh one when they could stand up (so the thick one wouldn’t become a step for climbing out) and when the research scared me enough.

    What do they do in Scandinavia? Everything else they do seems to be perfect so maybe we could follow their lead here.

  7. Lisa 05/09/2011 at 9:55 pm

    I went without when my daughter was born because I had read the same or similar studies. She never really had any problems without one – she’d get a leg through a slat once in a while, but it didn’t seem to bother her. I guess I never understood why they were necessary in the first place, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to go without.

  8. amyallenjohnson 05/09/2011 at 2:12 pm

    Bumpers were decorative for our kids. removed about the same time they started rolling over (4-5 m) to avoid the risk of suffocating. Let the head bonking and limb entrapment continue..

  9. Rachael Herrscher 05/09/2011 at 11:44 am

    My kids jam there heads and bodies against the crib bumpers and I need the padding! Crib bumpers still installed (albeit thinner ones) and no plans of dismantling!

  10. Stacey 05/09/2011 at 8:35 am

    Have you checked out Wonder Bumpers? I had a traditional bumper on the crib for my first two babies and took it off when they began using the bumper to launch themselves out of the crib. Then I heard about more of the real dangers of crib bumpers, like you mentioned. I was happy to hear about Wonder Bumpers before I had my last baby and am using them on his crib now. They are nice because they still allow the air flow to the crib and provide a soft padding when baby scoots up against the rails but doesn’t create that risk of suffocation or launching out of the crib! I did a post about them earlier this winter: http://www.staceysays.com/2011/02/go-mama-go-giveaway/