According to a new study, infant deaths linked to crib bumpers has increased; crib bumpers are padded blankets placed inside a crib to prevent a baby’s limbs from getting stuck between the slats.
Researchers discovered there were 23 deaths linked to crib bumpers between 2006-2012 that were reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). While the number may seem low, it is three times higher than the average during each of the three previous seven year spans, when only eight deaths were tied to the use of the bumpers.
Between 1985 and 2012, 48 infants died in situations involving crib bumpers, while 146 infants were involved in non deadly incidents with the bumpers. According to the study, 32 of these deaths could have been prevented if the bumpers were not used.
A professor emeritus of pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dr. Bradley T. Thach, stated, “Crib bumpers are killing kids. The infant deaths we studied could have been prevented if the cribs were empty.” Thach suspects, however, that the number is actually higher, but the issue tends to be underreported.
Thach also believes stores are partially to blame for the phenomenon, as stores display cribs with the bumpers; he stated how that can be confusing for parents:
“When they go into a baby store to buy a crib, they see all cribs lined with bumpers, and that sends a false signal that if they are selling them, they must be safe.”
As of now, there are no federal regulations on crib bumpers, although Maryland and Chicago both have banned the sale of these items in stores. Hopefully, other states will do the same.