This week the Chicago City Council adopted an ordinance banning the sale of crib bumper pads after learning they may have played a role in the deaths of a least a dozen babies, The Chicago Tribune reports.
Many families think of bumper pads as an essential way to keep babies cozy in the crib, but "babies can lack the motor skills and strength to turn their heads if they roll against something that blocks their breathing," The Tribune said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission already recommends that parents keep anything soft—such as pillows, quilts, and "pillow-like bumper pads,"—out of a baby's bed to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. But Nancy Maruyama, of SIDS of Illinois, pointed out that parents see bumper pads in stores, and think "if (stores) sell it, it must be safe," she told the Tribune.
The state of Maryland is considering a similar ban, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it is studying the safety of bumper pads.
Chicago Aldermen were motivated by stories in The Chicago Tribune in March. The paper reported that federal regulators investigated at least a dozen cases where crib bumpers appeared to play a role in a baby's death, but investigators ultimately said it wasn't clear the pads were to blame. So reporters took a closer look at records about the deaths. From the Tribune:
[I]n reviewing the agency's own records, the Tribune found that in many of those cases, babies who died had their faces pressed into bumper pads.
The Tribune also found at least 17 additional cases in which the safety agency did not investigate a child's death even though the agency had reports on file suggesting bumper pads played roles in the fatalities.
The Chicago bumper pad ban will take effect in about seven months.
(image via: http://kidsindanger.blogspot.com)