Infants are vulnerable to so many dangers. Some of those dangers can't be helped. But others can - and that should include the bumpers on their cribs.
According to a key federal safety agency, there were 52 deaths involving crib bumpers from 1990 to 2010. The Consumer Product Safety Commission did not say bumpers were specifically to blame for these deaths, but nonetheless bumpers were involved.
Manufacturers of children's products dispute the notion that crib bumpers are responsible for defective product injuries. Instead, the manufacturers assert, bumpers can actually prevent children's injuries by keeping limbs from getting stuck in the slats of the crib.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended last week that parents stop using all crib bumper pads due to the risk such bumpers pose to infants. Those risks include the risk of suffocation and the risk of strangulation.
Product manufacturers claim that these risks apply only to "pillow-like" bumpers, not to the vast majority of bumpers. Safety advocates counter that there is no evidence that the traditional bumpers are less likely to cause suffocation than the fatter, pillow-like bumpers.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to review the crib bumper issue closely and set up an expert panel to make recommendations.
Safety advocates believe the CPSC should take a strong stand against crib bumpers. "All major safety and health groups now agree - bumpers are an unnecessary and dangerous crib accessory," said Nancy Cowles, executive director Kids in Danger, a product safety advocacy group.
The children's products industry is understandably concerned about lost profits from crib bumper sales. Far more important than profits, however, are the lives and safety of the children in those cribs.
Source: "Pediatrics group says no to crib bumpers," USA Today, 10-18-11