BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A lot of parents think they’re helping if they purchase crib bumpers for the safety and comfort of their new bundle of joy. However, in spite of their perceived purpose, these accessories turn out to be more harmful than helpful.
Nobody put it simpler than senior author of the Bradley T. Thach, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the School of Medicine: “Crib bumpers are killing kids.” Thach is also the author of the first prominent study documenting crib-bumper deaths in 2007.
According to him, bedding bumpers are even more dangerous than the study had previously assessed. Had the cribs been empty, a lot of the infant deaths studied might have been prevented. The new study concurs, suggesting a significant increase in the number of infant deaths and injuries in recent years attributed to crib bumpers.
In light of the tragic numbers, the researchers called for a nationwide ban on crib bumpers, even though they are not the first to ask for such a drastic measure. The National Institutes of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Canadian Pediatric Society are all against the use of crib bumpers.
Thach believes a ban would send a stronger message about the dangers of placing soft bedding inside the baby’s crib; this is one of the most effective ways to prevent infant deaths: completely ruling out the idea of parents purchasing a crib bumper. There’s a problem, however.
It turns out that only the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) can institute a ban in the U.S. If you’re wondering how is that a problem, researchers say the agency is way too small and underfunded for the task. Add to that other priorities and with limited resources and the ban has little to no chances to become reality.
At the same time, it’s difficult to educate parents about these dangers given that high-end celebrity nurseries in magazine, catalogues and store displays all feature crib bumpers. First-time parents are in the most danger due to the lack of experience.
For the period between 2006 and 2012, researchers found 23 documented deaths related to crib bumpers. According to the CPSC reports for the seven-year period, the rates are three times higher than the average recorded over each of the three previous seven-year spans.
Crib bumpers can cover the baby’s nose and mouth when the baby is asleep, blocking his or her airways, leading to suffocation due to oxygen-depleted air.
Image Source: Inhabitots