According to a recent article in the Journal of Pediatrics, the number of babies who have died as a result of the use of crib bumpers has tripled in the last seven years data has been available. The authors, all medical doctors, have looked at infant deaths since 1985.
Between 1985 and 2012, bumpers possibly were involved in 77 deaths, according to a study running in the latest edition of the Journal of Pediatrics. Of deaths that were suffocations, 67% were by a bumper alone, and another 33% happened when a baby got wedged between the bumper and another object. Even with the significant increase in deaths recently, the authors believe these numbers are still “dramatically” undercounted.
Significantly, there are no federal regulations restricting the use of crib bumpers. The industry, which publishes its own voluntary standards, still considers these products to be safe, and they remain available in most baby stores. Nevertheless, some action has been taken – reportedly, the city of Chicago and the state of Maryland ban bumper sales.
Unfortunately, manufacturers and retailers can be slow to respond to safety issues, waiting for a body count to rise before considering actions such as recalls and redesigns. In the meantime, families are often left with little or conflicting information,. Parents and caregivers must arm themselves with the latest information regarding potentially hazardous, even deadly, children’s products – do not assume that items are safe simply because they are available for sale on retail shelves and online.