Bye-Bye to Crib Bumpers?

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You've picked out the crib, the changing table, a cushy chair for feedings and even your little one's first book, but if you follow the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) then there's one thing your new nursery will be without:a crib bumper. At their National Conference & Exhibition this month in Boston, MA, the AAP revised their sleep safety recommendations to include a firm statement against the use of bumpers.


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The report states: '??Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.'?

The reason for the ban goes beyond the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the AAP'??s first recommendation in 1992 that infants sleep on their backs, SIDS-related deaths have declined dramatically, but other sleep-related deaths due to entrapment, suffocation or asphyxia have gone up.

The AAP'??s revised policy statement, released in the November 2011 issue of Pediatrics, explains that many of the risk factors for SIDS and suffocation are similar. Since deaths related to SIDS have been declining but not other sleep-related deaths, the AAP decided to expand its recommendations from '??focusing only on SIDS to focusing on a safe sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths, including SIDS.'?


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Some cities are already leading the way on saying bye-bye to bumpers like Chicago, which became the first city to ban them in September 2011. But not everyone is thrilled including bumper manufacturers and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) which maintains that when bumpers are used properly, they are not only safe but useful.

'??When used according to manufacturer'??s instructions, properly designed crib bumper pads can help prevent limb entrapment and head injuries. Our fear is that the recommended elimination of bumpers from the marketplace will lead to unintended consequences and may encourage parents to use towels, adult blankets or pillows as a protective barrier from the hard wooden surface of the crib slats,'? said Michael Dwyer CAE, Executive Director of JPMA in a recent press release.

The AAP'??s statement is only a recommendation, and so bumpers will still be readily available in stores and online. The question is '?? will parents heed the advice of the AAP or move ahead with their matching sheets, window valence and bumper sets.

What do you think? Are bumpers a sleep hazard, a safety essential or a fashion statement?

Kate Bayless is a writer, editor and somehow sewed her first child's bumper - a feat since she still can't reattach a button. Her work has appeared in Parents, American Baby, Fit Pregnancy, iVillage and other publications. Visit her at www.katebayless.com or @katebayless.

Momtrends was not paid for this post.

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