Are Crib Bumpers Hurting Babies?

What happens when something that's supposed to keep your baby safe turns out to be dangerous?
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green baby bumper

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.

amy coe cirque enfants blue green

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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