The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long recommended that babies sleep in a crib with a firm mattress that's free of soft bedding, bumpers, and pillows or stuffed animals. A recent policy statement released in late October reaffirmed the importance of these guidelines, which are meant to help reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths.
It's indeed puzzling given these words that the CPSC chose not to outright ban bumpers; instead, it has placed the onus on parents to keep babies safe. The agency plans to review a performance standard for crib bumpers in 2018—two years from now! The AAP and several other child-advocacy groups strongly condemn this decision.
"Urging parents not to purchase crib bumpers while allowing them to remain on the market is confusing, and inappropriately places the burden of safety on parents while needlessly exposing infants to risk of death," said AAP President Benard Dreyer, MD, FAAP. "Parents tell us that 'if they sell them, they must be safe.' Pediatricians and child health advocates will continue to call on the CPSC to protect infants by banning these dangerous products that serve no child health benefit."
I've always found it interesting that when you go into a baby store, you'll see cribs set up with decorative, thickly-padded bumpers that look beautiful, but you know you can't use them! As Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, said, "The statement released is a step forward, but in the real world, doesn't change much. Expectant or new parents shopping online or in stores will have no knowledge of this statement—only what they see in front of them on store shelves."
Added William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, "What kind of message does it send to consumers when these dangerous products are still on store shelves? It's time for them to go."
What is your reaction to the CPSC's decision not to ban the sale of crib bumpers?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of coffee.