When I was expecting my first child, we had a beautiful wooden crib complete with an adorable set of bedding that included a padded bumper.
As an almost-mom, that bumper made sense to me. What if my baby rolled over and got their little arm stuck between the slats? What if my baby got wedged between the side of the crib and the mattress?
So, I spent a frustrating hour tying the padded bumper to the slats and I thought for sure I was well on my way to being a fabulous mom.
But then my own mother saw the bumper and she damn near had a heart attack. She explained to me that if a baby rolls over and smooshed their sweet face against it, they can suffocate or be strangulated.
Now, a new federal law called the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021 has been signed into law, which bans the manufacture and sale of crib bumpers or infant sleepers with an incline of more than 10%.
According to Kids In Danger, a nonprofit organization that fights for product safety to keep kids safe, there is plenty of good reason for this new law.
The group says that crib bumpers “increase the likelihood of suffocation or entrapment,” and that since 1990, 113 children have died from dangerous interactions with bumpers.
Furthermore, another 100 children died from accidents involving incline sleepers.
“For decades, consumer, health, and parent groups have decried the sale of these dangerous products,” Nancy Cowles, executive director of the group Kids In Danger, said in a statement.
“We thank the families and organizations who have worked so hard to keep children safe and look forward to the end of these deadly products on store shelves and in our nurseries.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that annually, 3,600 babies die from SIDS, strangulation, and suffocation.
This new law aims to keep unsafe products off the market to lower that number and prevent needless injuries and death.
To keep babies safe while they sleep, The AAP recommends:
- Babies should sleep alone in their own crib, play yard, or bassinet.
- Parents should choose a firm, flat mattress with a taught sheet.
- Keep toys, blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, and other objects out of the sleep space.
- Place your baby on their back for sleep.
- Babies should only be brought into a parent’s bed for comfort or feeding.
- Do not allow your baby to sleep on a couch or armchair.
- Avoid swaddling your baby if they are able to roll back and forth.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as numerous manufacturers have recalled various baby products over the years. This includes incline sleepers, which has inspired the organization to adopt new safety guidelines.
By standardizing the safety benchmarks for products targeted at babies and toddlers, there is hope that fewer injuries and deaths will occur.
Three kids later, I can tell you that I have never used an inclined sleeper or a padded bumper and everyone was just fine.
We often turn to these products out of a place of love in hopes to make our babies feel comfortable.
Every family has to do what makes the most sense for them, but not every parent realizes the potential dangers of the choices they make. I
certainly didn’t when I tried tying a bumper to my first baby’s crib. Fingers crossed this new law keeps more babies safe.