Crib Bumpers Now Banned in Chicago

ss_101128633The babies of Chicago just got a little bit safer. Yesterday, the Windy City became the first to ban the sale of crib bumper pads due to the suffocation hazards they are known to pose, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Though bumpers are commonly marketed as stylish nursery decor, recent history indicates they are, in fact, a serious threat and can easily block a baby’s ability to breath. In fact, according to the Tribune, the  National Center for Child Death Review has received 14 reports of infant suffocation due to the presence of a bumper pad in the past 3 years.

City Council members James Balcer, and  George Cardenas said they are eager to get the message out that these popular accessories simply aren’t safe. “If we were to wait for federal regulators, it probably would never get done,” Balcer said. “We have a responsibility here as government to address issues like this.”

Indeed, Federal regulators have resisted taking a firm stance on the safety of bumper pads, and are reportedly ”trying to determine if there is a scientific link between bumper pads and suffocations, or if factors such as blankets, pillows or medical issues played a primary role in babies’ deaths.”  In fact, as we reported in March, the Tribune identified 17 cases of infant deaths that the Consumer Product Safety Commission failed to investigate when they were fully-aware that crib bumper pads played roles in the fatalities.

At the end of the day, most experts seem to agree, there should only be two things in your baby’s crib: a firm, tight-fitting mattress and a crib sheet. “It’s tempting to make it look cute and cozy with lots of blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows, but they’re all suffocation hazards for kids under 1 year old,” says Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council. The bottom line: the suffocation risk of bumper pads outweighs their benefits.

Share your thoughts on Chicago’s banning of crib bumpers. Are you hoping your city follows suit?

Read more about nursery safety, below, and be sure to keep up with the latest product recalls with our helpful Recall Finder on

Safe-Sleep Guide for Baby

The Safe Nursery

Repurpose Your Crib Bumpers

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  1. by Nancy A Cowles

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Thank you for reporting on this important issue. Chicago was first in the nation to ban the sale of recalled children’s products back in 1998 after the death of Danny Keysar in a recalled portable crib — the federal government didn’t take that step until 2008. And now, they are leading the way on this emerging suffocation hazard. It is important that parents are aware of the risks of soft bedding, including crib bumper pads. Just because they are on store shelves, it doesn’t mean they are safe. A bare crib is best.

  2. by Christina

    On September 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    FINALLY!! That is all I have to say!

  3. by Tater Mommy

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I see that these are listed as dangerous for children under one. But what about children older than one? I think this might be a little extreme.

  4. by mother of 3 bumper user

    On September 9, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I have used bumper pads for all three of my children and not as decoration but to protect thier heads while learning to crawl and tummy time in thier crib. As long as a parent is listening and watching thier child there should be no worry of suffocation from a bumper pad. I would think there is more of a chance of suffocation from the mattress that is basically foam covered in plastic n def not as breatheable as a bumper pad. Of coarse the only ones I use are only 1/4of an in. thick(if that), not like some others I’ve seen that are over 3in. thick (wich I think is overkill). Glad I don’t live in Chicago.

  5. by no need to freak out

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    14 in 3 years nationally? I think the death toll for kids who drown in bathtubs is higher than that. Should we ban bathing our children??

  6. by Punkin's Mommy

    On September 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    I really don’t think banning the sale of bumpers in the city is going to make that much difference. If parents want to use one they can just as easily order it online or go outside the city to purchase one. That being said I used a bumper in my daughter’s crib and still do because she moves around so much and in such weird ways that I did not want to find her arm or leg stuck through the slats on her crib. Until she could roll and move by herself, she slept in a sleep positioner.

  7. by Kimber

    On September 10, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Why do people assume that if you are a vigilant parent that bad things don’t happen? Do the 14 deaths mean nothing? My daughter could have been a statistic if I had bumper pads in her crib because she loved to roll around and smoosh her face into the crib railings even at just a few weeks old. I slept in the same room with her. Parents have to sleep and babies don’t cry when they suffocate! Yes, her arms and legs did get occasionally stuck in the railings but better a bruised limb than taking the chance of losing my baby. Plus, they have breathable bumpers now if that is a concern. Also, as soon as a baby is able stand, bumpers are supposed to be taken out because they can be used as a climbing aid to climb out of a crib. Why take a chance on a decoration that is not needed? I applaud Chicago!

  8. by Lauren

    On September 10, 2011 at 2:02 am

    This is rediculous!! 1. Without a bumper, my babys legs got caught in the spokes, which was painful and unsafe. 2. Banning the sale all together doesn’t just affect infants, but children over 1. And 3. What about breatheable mesh bumpers? Those are breathable and keep babys legs from getting stuck. Why are they banned too!? This is stupid and infuriating.

  9. by Christina

    On September 10, 2011 at 6:33 am

    This is ridiculous! I used a bumper for my son and not once did anything ever happen. Mind you my son slept in a bassinet until he was about 6 months because I worry about everything and SIDS just had me terrified. The thought of doing everything right and something still going horribly wrong worried me but my son is 16 months old now and is just fine. I think this is taking away from the parents rights. I have a bumper in his crib right now and have no worries. I don’t think all parents should be punished because some don’t know how or when to use the product. That information is made easily available. And I don’t think the children should have to suffer at all. It not their fault in anyway. And yes without the proper use of the bumper they are suffering. Their poor arms and legs are going to get stuck in the railings.

  10. by Tara

    On September 10, 2011 at 8:30 am

    This is crazy!!! I have two kids with one on the way andni don’t use them till their one to then protect their heads if they toss and turn at night and to also keep their hands out of the bars.. No way should they BAN be sell of bumpers! It should be the mothers choice and if something happens well, she has to live with that choice just as we choose to let our kids do other things that are way more ‘harmful’ like swimming. But of course this is their way of taking more and more of our choices away as parents and americans. Next will be trampolines or something! More kids get hurt on this in a yr!

  11. by Lauren

    On September 28, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    My daughter never had a bumper pad in her crib because of the risk of SIDS and was just fine without one. Her limbs are still in tact, actually. They are not necessary. The logic on this forum is laughable, “Well my baby didn’t die, so there.” You were blessed with a miracle, a little human being, who needs you to make decisions for him/her based on evidence and safety, not aesthetics. Why take the chance?

  12. by thoughtful

    On October 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Why not just change the design of the cribs so that the lower half doesn’t have railings? With

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  34. by Tori [at]

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