Crib Bumpers: Are They Safe for Baby?
Babies safety should be your utmost concern before trying out any product out there that will compromise it.
Crib bumper pads are still counted as ordinary baby products in spite of years of cautions. According to parents’ view they think that using these bumper baby pads increases the protection of the crib of your child.
But the cautions from the security agencies and advocacy groups have cleared that crib bumper baby pads are completely unsafe. They constitute the risks of strangulation, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), suffocation and many more. Now let’s come to the topic of crib bumper baby pads and its use, alternatives.
When you first come to know the name “crib bumper”, you might think they are something created to safeguard an out of control crib bumper from a crash. It might sound interesting but it’s not like what you are thinking about.
Baby crib bumper pads which are frequently and willingly available and comprised in crib bedding sets. These are cotton pads that spin around the edge of the bumper crib. Normally, they are furnished to keep or prevent the toddler’s head from falling through the straps of the crib bumper.
But nowadays crib bumpers are developed with the straps closer together, so the crib bumper pads are not needed any longer.
Yet, many moms choose to use these crib bumpers anyways as the looks of the bumper attract them- specifically if it matches the bedding set or a nice decorated nursery. On the other hand, other parents choose the bumper pads as they worry about hitting their baby’s head on the edge of the crib or expanding their legs or arms through the straps of the crib and getting injured.
Yet, a serious injury will not likely occur if the arms and legs of the baby are put through the slats of the crib. Either they will make noise for help or remove their legs and arms from the straps of the crib. Crib bumpers are dangerous and increase greater risks to an accident or even lead to death than at averting a few slight bumps. Even doctors warn not to use them as many death cases of infants are reported due to the use of these baby crib bumpers.
The use of the crib bumper pads may increase the risk of suffocation, falls, strangulation and even SIDS. These pads can also lessen the flow of air which can lead to mustiness and stuffy atmosphere and also give a rise to overheating.
Moreover, child security organizations suggest against baby crib bumper pads as they increase a risk of suffocation just like a thick blanket or a pillow can lead to the risk of restricting the infant’s breathing if the bumper pad is next to the little one’s mouth or nose.
The risks associated with these crib bumpers are the following:
When infants are very young and unable to move away properly by themselves from the potential harmful objects including crib bumpers, suffocation is the greatest risk that may take place. According to AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), it is reported that some toddlers are not able to induce themselves enough to prevent death when they lack sufficient oxygen or overheat during sleep.
Though the AAP policy statement added, some infants are more liable to SIDS because of biological factors like serotonin levels and brainstem development. The organization emphasizes that we cannot concentrate on only one possible cause of SIDS.
Because parents have no idea about time whether the infant is predisposed to SIDS due to biological factors or not, it’s vital that they should reduce all the other environmental factors including the usage of baby crib bumper pads.
Most of the parents often do not detach the bumper pads, once their toddler can stand up in the crib. This may lead to higher chances for the toddler to fall from the crib because the bumper pad can give the foothold that helps the infant to climb out of that crib and fall. As a result, a serious injury can also take place. This mainly happens when babies grow older and try to climb up on the crib. They use them for extra elevation and stepping out of the crib caused them to fall.
After SIDS, it is considered as a secondary risk of using a crib bumper. Toddlers become intertwined in the crib bumper or it ties or can get stuck between the crib and the bumper. The more important thing is, a few baby crib bumpers have been thought of because the decoration and stitching can become loose and increase the risk of getting injured.
Furthermore, a case study on infants’ death related to crib bumpers from Washington University in St. Louis (1985-2005) found that 27 infants below the age of 2 died due to suffocation and strangulation by the crib bumper pads or their knots. The study also claimed that there are 25 children who didn’t face death but a serious injury by the crib bumpers.
A 2015 research study also showed that children often bump their heads through the slats of the crib and even get stuck with their legs between the straps of the crib bumpers.
If crib bumpers are not secure, what can be used as alternatives? Blaire Hammond (An assistant professor of Pediatrics, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York) says that she has kids and when they were young, their legs got stuck between the slats of the crib but unfortunately there is not a proper alternative of crib bumper. Although, she has a suggestion that a portable crib or play yard crib which is basically used while traveling outside, can be used as an alternative. She claimed that she used it for her third child. That alternative crib has flexible mesh edges so that babies can’t bump their heads or put their legs or arms between the slats.
There is also another substitute for the crib bumper that is “Sleep Sack” which helps toddlers and infants from getting stuck or putting their legs or feet through slats of the crib. The wearable sacks or blankets are small and soft sleeping bags which keep the legs accommodated (but quite free to propel all over the night).
Another expert named Alexis Phillips Walker stated that it’s sure that a toddler can bump its head or may try to put their arms or feet between the slats or where they don’t belong. But, do not let that tension carry on with you at night. He added that considering the low risks of injury in a baby crib bumper is not necessary. The hazards far exceed any benefits, when it comes to baby crib bumpers.
Products that are sold as eliminating the risks of suffocation, might have been witnessed by you. But, experts don’t suggest using those products either. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly suggested against the use of any kind of baby crib bumpers, even including the mesh ones. This suggestion or recommendation is not only to prevent the risk of suffocation, but also the chances of entrapment or strangulation with baby crib bumpers or knots that are used to hold the crib bumpers in a particular place. Even if the material is breathable, depending on the item, toddlers might still get intertwined in that fabric or get stuck between the slats that are used to connect the crib. So, there is still a possible chance of strangulation or entanglement.
Moreover, as babies age, the hazards of SIDS lowers, but the toddlers can use the bumpers as a support and try to jump out which can lead the baby to cause a head injury or jolting associated with a fall.
Research reports showed that most of the bedding deaths of infants took place between 5 to 12 months of age due to the presence of blankets and stuffed toys and plush in the bed with the baby. According to the AAP recommendation, parents should wait up to baby’s first birthday to begin placing the stuffed animals, sheets, plush and blankets in the bed.
But they have to keep in mind that their baby must develop their motor skills as they age. Thus, these sufficient motor skills and reflexes help the kids to untangle themselves from the blanket as well as to clear the objects from their faces.
The AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) provides guidelines for a safe sleep which are based on research and studies on infant’s death and how it can be cured or prevented. Usually speaking, the ABCs ( that is Alone- Back- Crib) of a safe sleep should be followed which means your little one should be alone on its back in a baby crib.
A- Alone: Your baby should sleep alone in the crib, that is none else should sleep with the toddler and this also includes that there are no extra toys, blankets, crib bumpers or pillows present.
B- Back: An infant’s safest position is on its back. They are not strong yet and aware or careful enough to make motion of their heads if they can’t properly breathe.
C- Crib: Your little one should sleep in a bassinet, playpen or crib that is especially created for baby’s sleep. Don’t let the newborn sleep in play devices or a swing.
Please note that while experts suggest that babies should sleep alone in their own bed, moms, especially those who are breastfeeding, want to keep their babies close to them in the same room. Being close to your newborn gives you a better awareness of hearing quickly if something goes wrong while your little one is sleeping.
Secure Positions of Sleep- Toddler should be placed on its back. When infants age, they may make movements side to side. So, the infants should be put on their backs till they can roll from tummy to side or side to side by themselves.
Use Of Pacifier- Some research shows that providing a pacifier during bedtime and naps help the baby to safeguard from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), gives you a feeling of assurance that your toddler is safe.
Keep Away From Smokers- Second and Third hand smoke lead to an increased possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) for the newborn. Second hand smoking refers to when someone is actively smoking nearby and the baby is inhaling the air directly and the third hand one refers to the remainder that lingers on toys, clothes and walls.
Pleasant Temperature: Making sure that the infant is in pleasant temperature will assist them to sleep peacefully through the night. Blankets are not suggested as they increase the possibility of suffocation. But if it makes you worry that your toddler may feel cold, you can use warm clothes or socks. But, when it gets warmer, you should use lighter clothes.
Safe Surface For Sleep: You may be convinced to ensure that the newborn feels comfortable on soft mattresses or blankets. But, it can pose a risk of suffocation, so you should avoid using these types of items. Alternatively, you can use a tightly adjustable sheet and confirm that the mattress’s surface is solid, not soft. While lying on the mattress, if the toddler makes a hollow in it, it is too soft.
Breastfeeding: It provides the baby the best nutrition and is correlated with lower chance of SIDS. If breastfeeding can’t be done directly, you can pump through a bottle and feed your little one. Breast Milk is created to fulfill the needs of the baby and increases antibodies to fight off infection and illness.
Although you create a safe sleep atmosphere for your little one in your home, the toddler could be at risk if the other caregivers or your relatives are unaware about the same safeguards or precautions. Don’t be so confident about them taking care of your baby by following those exact practices as you. Make sure to check out the baby and the sleeping atmosphere by yourself and talk to the other caregivers and share and suggest them to follow the AAP guidelines of creating a safe sleep environment for your little one and what and how to use baby crib bumpers or its alternatives with safety as well.
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