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?

baby gear, baby sleep, recalls, safety, sids


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nonmember avatar Anon

I come from the days when nobody used bumpers, you know, before moms got all hysterical about the thought that their little precious' head might come in contact with something hard. Totally unnecessary. Besides, they block babies' view of anything but the ceiling - especially now that parents have been convinced not to let kids have so much as a teddy bear in bed with them. That said, I bought crib sets and they included bumpers. The bumpers were cute, darnit! Nice for my little ones to look at and touch. So I used them on 3 sides of their cribs, leaving the other one open so they could look at each other. Over a pretty young age, babies can push stuff away from their face to breathe. And as for climbing out - my generation never needed a bumper to climb on, and my kids didn't either. The way people nowadays try to stifle all kids' bad ideas, it's amazing we aren't raising a bunch of vegetables. (Maybe some of us are.)

Memph... MemphisSuzi

We didnt use them because everything I had read said they were unsafe.  Should they be banned?  No, parents have the right to make their own decisions in regards to their children. 

jezsikaq jezsikaq

My 14 month old son has brittle bone disease, I have the breathable crib bumpers so that he wont get his arms or legs stuck in the crib, and he doesn't sit or crawl or anything like that yet. I don't think they should be illegal for the special circumstances.

nonmember avatar Sara

Outlawing cribs? Really?? Because I promise you that my daughter would've been in a lot more danger sleeping in a queen bed between my hubby and me. And since when is a co-sleeper "what nature intended"?
I used crib bumpers. I never found my daughter pressed against them, and we moved her to a toddler bed before she had a chance to stand on them- actually, come to think of it, I left 3 of the bumpers on when we coverted to a toddler bed, so she'd feel more cozy and wouldn't get her limbs through the slats. Informed decisions, people.

nonmember avatar ele4phant

@amandasmom. Nature didn't intend for us as adults to sleep in beds, either. And if the widespread prevelance of back problems is any indication, it isn't all that great for us either. Maybe we should stop sleeping like that and make it illegal too?

Nature didn't intend for alot of things that modern society has created to happen, but that doesn't mean its the scourge of the earth.

Be reasonable, and kids will probably grow up to be just fine under any number of circumstances.

amand... amandasmomma

Nature intended mothers to sleep with or close to their young. Look at every other animal on earth and babies in most countries on earth.

Nature did not intend newborn infants to sleep alone in a cage in a entirely different room from their parents.

I was joking about outlawing cribs peeps! Do what's best for you and your baby!!

nonmember avatar Shandeigh

I didn't have bumpers at first until my son would wake up several times a night with his arm or leg caught in the slats. I bought the mesh bumpers... they can't sufficate him and he can't stand on them so it works.

@amandasmomma I seriously hope you're kidding about outlawing cribs. Not everyone wants to or can co-sleep. We need more choices as mothers, not less.

JordanV JordanV

We have a breathable bumper and love it.  I wouldn't be at all upset if they were illegalized, but I wouldn't push for it.

Heath... HeatherMQ

We used a mesh crib bumper. Kept it low so no legs could slip under it through the slats. lol  No legs or paci's got out and it just collapsed when she tried to stand on it. I give those one's and A+! 

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