Should Crib Bumpers Be Illegal?

Wonder BumpersDid you know we're not supposed to use crib bumpers for a newborn? And then we're not supposed to use them when baby is old enough to stand holding the edge of the crib, either. In fact, we're not supposed to use them at all, and frankly I find the kid-décor industry’s response to this whole mess to be so callous and deplorable, it makes me want no money ever spent on a crib bumper until the end of time.

And yet: I have crib bumpers. What the heck is wrong with me?


I am a pretty paranoid person. When my kid sleeps too long, I check to make sure she’s still breathing. I stay within arms’ reach of both kids when they’re eating – fear of choking. I still use a sling, but you can bet I have my baby’s face within kissing distance at all time. And I couldn’t throw out that stupid sleep positioner fast enough. But sometimes, I just have to say, this is a risk I’m okay with.

I have a friend who put her son to sleep on his tummy because he had awful reflux, and this was the only way he could reliably sleep. “I slept on my stomach,” she told me. And from what she’d read, she reasoned that there was something they would someday be able to isolate that caused most crib deaths – and she was willing to bet she hadn’t inherited that gene.

When my babies had colds, I would put them on their stomachs, too. My mom pointed out that this way, their snot would run out onto the mattress instead of back into their lungs. But I stayed, again, within arm’s reach (and actually curled around them most of the night).

It’s a matter of balancing risk and my instincts. If I followed every warning to the letter, I’d drive myself (and my kids) crazy. Of course, there are other reasons I don’t feel bad about still having bumpers on the crib: First of all, my 9-month-old has no idea what a crib is. I still try to jam her in the co-sleeper, and she ends up in our bed after her first feed, most nights.

The kid sleeping in the crib is nearly 3. Oh yes, I realize that the bumpers hold another hazard for her, as she can allegedly stand on them and topple out of the crib. I am not worried about this. She was a good 15-months-old before she ever set foot in there.

Still, I worried about the bumpers, till I heard “THUNK. Waaah!” and decided that as long as I wove them in and out of the slats, and tied them really-really tight, they were worth the risk.

For the record, if you’re hoping bumpers are going to keep your kid from getting his arm or leg caught between the slats, please see Exhibit A, my daughter Abby, a.k.a. Cribdini, who – in her brief crib forays – has managed to wedge her dimpled little cankles right into the slats almost every single time. Bumper be damned.

So, you know. With two giant, vital “babies,” the younger of whom never sees the inside of a crib, bumpers are the least of my worries. And yet every time I read a crib-bumper warning, I’m flooded with rivers of guilt and worry and second-guessing. Which brings me to what I guess is my point: I am scared all the time. And there are some things I have to be reasonably sure are okay.

I just hope I'm picking the right things.

Incidentally, the image at top is of a genius solution -- not cheap, of course, but so very cute and smart: Wonder Bumpers, which wrap each individual slat. Would these ease your mind if your newborn infant were in a crib?

Do you still have crib bumpers? What have you decided to chance despite warnings?

Read More >