Dr. Oz has called for a ban on crib bumpers, citing some grim statistics on their use. He’s asking people to spread the word through social media.
In the past, many of us put bumpers in our babies’ cribs. But with Oz’s involvement, the movement to ban them is growing.
The advice I see most often today is to simply leave the crib bare and make sure that sheet is securely tucked around the bottom of the mattress. That said, I am no longer selling or accepting crib bumpers for consignment.
What Oz and Others Say About Crib Bumpers
Dr. Oz cites rising statistics indicating that crib bumpers have been a factor in infant deaths. They’ve tripled, he says, and have no benefits, only risks. Here’s his video.
The American Academy of Pediatrics called for a ban, too, back in 2011. It found that bumpers raise the risk for trapping a baby and cause suffocation.
The Government Has Not Banned Crib Bumpers
The U.S. Government has not issued a ban on crib bumpers at this time. If it does so, it will be through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. We subscribe to CPSC notifications and remove products it bans from our shelves. We also do all we can to contact customers who have purchased products from us prior to a ban.
Many crib bedding packages include bumpers. Ultimately, it’s up to parents to decide if they should be used. One argument against banning them is that parents will simply use other, less stable materials to prevent babies from bumping their heads, such as pillows or rolled-up towels.
If you really love the way bumpers look, I suppose you can tie them around the outside of the crib—but take ’em down once Junior figures out s/he can tug on them.
Why Do Parents Use Bumpers?
Many parents use crib bumpers to lessen the impact from a head against crib rails. Some babies are just more mobile than others. They can, and do, move about in their sleep.
Several years ago, crib manufacturers began putting more slats in cribs to prevent babies from getting their heads trapped between the slats. Many parents saw bumpers as an effective way to cushion head impacts and to prevent limbs from getting trapped between slats.
Bumpers were removed once an infant was able to grasp and pull, to prevent him/her from getting tangled into bumper strings.
Some parents swear by mesh bumpers, which achieve the goal of softening contact with slats and are more breathable than traditional bumpers. Babies can still get tangled in them, though, one of the dangers Oz and others cite in their call for a ban.
Watch your baby sleep and observe any changes in movement. If s/he is pretty still—nothing beyond the usual jerks and twitches most babies do when sleeping—bumpers are definitely unnecessary. If there is a lot of movement—well, that’s why people liked bumpers.
If you decide to use them, make sure they are placed correctly and checked every day so that they’re secure and not easily untied or lifted. Take them out once your baby can grasp and pull on them.