New Bill Bans Sale of Crib Bumpers in New York

New Bill Bans Sale of Crib Bumpers in New York

While they’re intended to protect baby, crib bumpers are linked to many infant deaths.
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profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
August 15, 2019
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New York’s Gov. Cuomo signed a package of bills designed to help keep infants and toddlers safe from dangers in the home and at day care centers. Specifically, the bill bans the the sale of crib bumpers in New York.

The debate over whether or not crib bumpers are safe has been going on for years. Put simply, the answer is no, they’re not safe. Crib bumpers are designed to surround the interior sides of a baby’s crib to prevent them from slipping their limbs through the openings or banging their head accidentally. But while they’re meant to protect baby, they can actually have the opposite effect.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend crib bumpers due to concerns over sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They argue an infant could suffocate if his nose and mouth get trapped under or against the pad, and there are studies to support it. Data from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that between 1990 and 2016, 282 babies were injured and 107 babies died in incidents in which a crib bumper was used in the crib.

“As a father, I know full well that you never stop worrying about your child’s safety, no matter how old they are,” Cuomo says. “These measures will help give parents peace of mind at a critical time in their child’s lives and will help ensure that their homes or daycare facilities remain safe and secure environments.”

In addition to the ban on crib bumpers, stores selling bigger items that pose a tipping risk, such as furniture and TVs, must now carry compatible devices capable of anchoring them to a wall and post a notice informing consumers of the risk. The bill will take effect 90 days after becoming law.

It’s natural to feel like you need bumpers to protect baby from hitting their head or getting caught in the crib slats, but you really don’t. Since 1973, federal regulations have required crib slats to be narrow enough to prevent baby’s head from poking through. And the risks associated with baby bumping their head aren’t nearly as high as the risks of suffocation. Plus, even with the use of crib bumpers, baby can still hit their head: A 2015 study found that infants hitting their head and getting their limbs trapped in the crib slats still happened when bumpers were used in the crib.

The takeaway? The best way to keep baby safe in the crib is to follow the AAP’s safe sleep guidelines. Place baby to sleep on her back with nothing in the crib but a fitted sheet. Yes, that means no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys or crib bumpers.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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