Photo Credit: Pottery Barn Kids
We realize that crib bumpers are a sweet design complement to cute sheets and curtains, but they can be deadly. So deadly that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of 60,000 pediatricians, unequivocally states that "bumper pads should not be used in cribs." So why do many major retailers from Pottery Barn to Land of Nod continue to sell them?
Research shows that bumpers are a leading cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). According to the AAP's SIDS prevention guidelines, "there is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries" and bumper pads pose "a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment." The National Institutes of Health and The Food and Drug Administration agree. Some cities have even gone ahead and out-and-out banned the sale and use of bumpers.
This morning, The TODAY Show released a new investigative report (watch it below) about how little parents are informed about the deadly dangers of crib bumpers. The show taped store clerks at major retailers, showing how many of them are uninformed and advise parents that bumpers are safe for newborns.
A spokesperson for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) said in the TODAY interview that whether to use a bumper is a parent's choice: "Parents need to make a decision for themselves what items they would like to use inside their crib -- and crib bumpers do prevent head injuries and limb entrapment." And on their site, the group states calls for a distinction between "hazardous pillow-like bumpers and traditional crib bumpers."
But there's no such thing as a safe bumper. Organizations like First Candle, a national nonprofit that focuses on SIDS public awareness of SIDS, has been touting the dangers for decades. The AAP issued a warning about the SIDS risks of bumpers in 2005. In 2007, a study in The Journal of Pediatrics, found that an alarming number of infant and baby deaths were attributed to the child suffocating while wedged against (or between) a padded bumper. Some were even strangled by a bumper tie.
Nursery companies also need to stop photographing quilts and comforters in unsafe ways, like draped over the crib's edge. (We see you Target, Walmart, Babies R Us and more.) The AAP (and just about every other expert in the field) has stated that it's essential to keep "soft objects such as pillows, quilts, comforters...out of an infant's sleeping environment" to help prevent SIDS.
Retailers must stop selling crib bumpers and stop featuring cribs draped with unsafe quilts. (Here's one way you can go bumper-free stylishly.) These companies should show parents the way to a beautiful -- and safe -- nursery.