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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Great Bumper Debate

For those of my readers who are not women and do not know (likely very few if not none of you), the above is a picture of some nursery bedding.  No, this is not my nursery bedding, just an image I found on the online.  What I want you to focus on in the above picture is the bumper: the piece that goes all the way around the crib railings with the birds on it.  Cute, right?

Bumpers used to be popular because quite a few years back (like when people my age were babies), the slats on the cribs were far enough apart that a baby's head could become trapped in between.  Today, this is not an issue, as there have been laws passed which regulate the length between slats, making it impossible for a head to fit through.  However, bumpers remained popular - some people like the way they look, others are worried about limbs getting caught between the slats and causing injury.  A lot of doctors and research groups maintain that an infant would never hit his or her head hard enough on a crib to cause bruising or injury.  Still, I know what it's like to be a worrier.

I hadn't ever given much thought to bumpers - I would say that 95% of bedding sets that come pre-packaged these days have them, although some are starting to package them so that the bumper is separate and you can choose whether or not to use one.  I like the way they look and the way they can tie all of the rest of the bedding together, and figured it was good to have extra padding.  I never thought anything about it - my Mom used bumpers for all three of us and we're all fine - but recently, I've heard more and more girlfriends talking about the risks associated with them.

Mom sent me this article last week.  In case you don't want to read it, here's a quick recap: the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that bumpers are not used in cribs, and it's the first time they've ever taken this stance.  Anti-bumper sentiment is growing in the medical community - who knew this was a hot topic?!  The recommendation by the AAP is based on several factors, but mostly it is due to a study that was published recently which reviewed deaths and injuries attributed to bumpers.  Basically, using information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for 1985-2005, medical examiners reports were reviewed and 27 accidental deaths of children were attributed to suffocation when they became wedged against a bumper or strangulation by a bumper tie. 

To me, while the article was informative, 27 deaths over a 20-year span makes it seem like they're being a little drastic by issuing this opinion.  I am not sure how many infants were born in this same time period, but I am guessing that the percentage of deaths would be minuscule in comparison to the number of births.  I guess they have to cover themselves, and it is better to take a stance one way or another...who really knows. 

My question is this: what do you think?  Are there any Moms out there reading who either have or have not used bumpers?  As mentioned above, I don't really have a reason for needing a bumper other than I like the way they look, and I thought that it would be softer for a baby to run into one of those rather than the crib rails when they start to wiggle around more.  Of course I want to do what is best for my child, but I also can't decide if I just think all of these reports are simply issuing really conservative opinions with the sole purpose of turning me into even more of a worry wart in order to cover all of their bases.  Thoughts?

Hope you're all having a great week so far.  Hump day tomorrow, woohoo!



  1. We have always had bumpers on the bed. The stance our pediatricians have always had is that by the time the baby starts moving around in the crib on their own their bodies will move if they end up in a spot where breathing is difficult. The highest risk of SIDS is 4-6 months of age - which is usually when babies start rolling over. You may consider not using a bumper until after baby B can roll in both directions. I will also say that since Emmett has started rolling the bumper has protected his head as I have heard him numerous times "bump" into the crib railing.

    Until Emmett began rolling I had placed the bumper at mattress level - meaning I pulled it in-between the mattress and crib - this way it still looked cute but wouldn't get in the way had he nuzzled up to it.

  2. We always used bumpers until Asher was big enough that they cramped his crib. We never had any issues and frankly they are more worried about sids than they are bumpers. Buy a video monitor and keep the volume high. You wont miss a beat. Promise. Everything will be fine.

    Im reading your blog giggling because your remind me of myself and so many of my friend first time moms.....from 3 years ago.

    I have learned you just let it go....
    We used some crazy expensive products with ridiculously low to no toxicity levels... but now we arent nearly as Anal.

    One thing I dont skimp on is sunblock. California baby and/or ThinkBaby have the lowest toxicity levels. We ONLY use that.

    Hopefully you are enjoying this. I was a control freak... and can sometimes still be but I have learned to let a lot of that go now that I am a mom. SHIT HAPPENS... and you just deal with it :) Planning pretty much goes to the way side when your a mom.

    Enjoy every minute of your pregnancy!!!!


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