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American Academy of Pediatrics Urges Parents Not to use Crib Bumpers

In an article on Parenting.com, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging parents to discontinue the use of bumper pads in infant cribs.

The recommendations were issued as part of an update and expanded set of guidelines on safe sleep and SIDS prevention for babies. This is the first time that the APP has officially come out against the use of crib bumpers.

According to the article, the AAP says that although there is no evidence that crib bumpers protect against injury, they may cause suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment if an infant’s breathing becomes obstructed by rolling into a bumper.

In the article, Rachel Moon, M.D, FAAAP, of the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., chairperson of the AAP SIDS task force and lead author of the new guidelines, is quoted as saying, “In 2005, when we last published a policy statement and recommendations, we had some concerns about bumper pads, but we didn’t really have a lot of evidence that this was a real problem. Since then, there have been some published studies looking at bumper pads, and we concluded that if there’s not reason for them to be in the crib, it’s better to just have them out of there, particularly in light of the deaths that have been reported, that have been associated with the bumper pads.”

In a study published in the September 2007 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, based on information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1985 to 2005, researchers found reports of 27 accidental deaths of children ages 1 month to 2 years, resulting from suffocation when they became caught against a bumper or strangled by a bumper tie around the neck.

In the article, Moon says that she hopes retailers will discontinue the sale of crib bumpers as a result of the revised APP guidelines: “The problem is that a lot of parents don’t understand that the Consumer Products Safety Commission is not a proactive agency; it’s a reactive agency. So, it only recalls things if there’s a problem. It doesn’t approve products before they go on the market. And a lot of parents have this perception that if stores sell it, it must be safe – because if it wasn’t safe, why would people sell it? And that’s clearly not true. I think that it’s important that parents realize that these things are not safe for their babies.”