Boot the crib bumpers and keep baby safe

For decades, soon-to-be parents have browsed the baby aisles looking for the perfect items for their new baby’s room. For most parents, that included a bedding set that included not only sheets, but comforters, dust ruffles and crib bumpers. Crib bumpers are those 6-inch high cloth strips that tied to crib slats meant to keep baby from injuring if they hit the side.

However as of last month, you should no longer be seeing crib bumpers in your favorite baby product stores due to a new statewide ban. This legislation, which was passed last year as part of Senate Bill 332, prohibits the sale of any nonmesh crib liners in the state. This ban is similar to other laws in Chicago, Maryland and the town of Watchung, N.J.

The law does allow for the sale of mesh liners for at least the next three years. At that time, the House of Representatives will review current research and the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s regulations to identify if mesh crib bumper pads should be included in the ban.

The ban was recommended based on research done by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who has advocated for babies to sleep on their back and in a bare crib. Excess items in the crib such as bumper pads, blankets, stuffed animals and pillows pose suffocation, entrapment and strangulation hazards.

As Ohio grapples with some of the highest infant mortality rates in the state, addressing the many causes of these deaths, including unsafe sleep practices, is paramount. The Ohio Department of Health reported that between 1985 and 2005, 27 infant deaths were attributed to strangulation or suffocation by crib bumper pads.

“Crib bumpers, often thought to protect children from striking the sides of a crib, actually do much more harm than good,” says Jessica Saunders, director of Dayton Children’s Center for Child Health and Wellness. “The display and sale of them can be confusing for parents as we decide what is needed to keep babies safe and comfortable.

“As with a lot of safety legislation, we now have an opportunity to continue education on the importance of keeping a baby’s sleep environment as safe as possible. Not using crib bumpers is a step in the right direction.”

While toys, blankets and bumper pads may be cute, they are not necessary and put baby at risk. All parents need to remember are the ABCs of safe sleep: Put baby Alone, on his or her Back in a Crib.

This look at a children’s health or safety issue comes from Dayton Children’s Hospital. Email: newsroom@childrensdayton.org.

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