Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Keep Cribs Clear

Stuffed animals, baby blankets and cute printed bumpers all make the crib look like a picture-perfect resting place, but they are making it a potential hazard for babies across the United States. Crib bumpers in particular have been increasingly implicated as suffocation hazards.

Many parents are left wondering why crib bumpers weren’t deemed unsafe before now. Apparently, in 2006, when 17 infants died from what appeared to be suffocation due to crib bumpers, investigations were never made by the Consumer Safety Product Commission. Now that the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups have warned of the dangers of crib bumpers, the CSPC is looking into the claims.

Crib bumpers were originally used to cover slats in the crib that were too far apart – an issue which is no longer relevant since cribs are made with specific measurements to ensure that the slats won’t allow a child’s head through.

Crib bumpers aren’t the only hazard to infants. Any extraneous items in the crib can pose a suffocation hazard. Pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals should not be placed in the crib with a baby under 12 months old. There are no established safety standards for crib bedding and new products that claim to be safe in the crib are usually not. In fact, positioning pillows used to keep a baby from turning over in the crib have actually caused several infant deaths. Many baby monitors were recalled last year due to a strangulation hazard from the cord. Even bedside sleepers can be dangerous and have caused some infants to get caught between the sleeper and the bed.

The best way to keep your baby safe at night is to put her in a separate crib either in the same room or a separate room. The crib should be completely bare. Babies can be outfitted in footed sleepers for warmth or swaddled with a receiving blanket as long as the blanket does not come up higher than the child’s arms.

Has anyone given you extraneous items for the crib?

When a Cuddly Crib Puts the Baby in Danger [Wall Street Journal]
Crib bumpers present risk and little likely benefit, safety advocates say [USAToday]
Crib deaths and bumper pads [LATimes]
Sleep Safety [BabyWeekly]