Padded crib bumpers are infant bedding accessories intended to line the sides of an infant’s crib. However, padded crib bumpers pose a significant hazard for infants and young children: asphyxiation. Dozens of infants and young children either die or are injured each year due to crib bumpers. This is unacceptable and completely avoidable.
I have recently been actively researching the hazards from padded crib bumpers. The reports of infants and young children dying as a result of padded crib bumpers are horrific and this has been going on much too long without the CPSC taking a position. That is why I voted for the FY17 CPSC Operating Plan that included an amendment instructing staff to provide the Commission with:
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in FY 2018 to include crib bumpers as “durable infant or toddler products” requiring consumer registration under section 104(d) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act; and
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in FY 2018 recommending a mandatory consumer product safety standard for crib bumpers under section 104 of the CPSIA that is more stringent than the current ASTM voluntary standard and will further reduce the risk of injury associated with this product.
I also firmly believe that the CPSC must continue to educate consumers about the hidden dangers of padded crib bumpers. That is why last month, I, along with Chairman Kaye, and Commissioners Mohorovic and Adler, issued a strong joint statement about the dangers of padded crib bumpers. The statement desperately urged parents not to buy or use padded bumpers in cribs. I will say it again, the only safe crib is a bare crib – Bare is Best.
We included a few recommendations in the statement to keep infants and children safe in cribs:
- Always properly assemble the crib;
- Only use an appropriately sized mattress and a snugly fitted sheet in the crib; and,
- Never place soft bedding or other padded objects such as padded bumpers, pillows, sleep positioners, stuffed animals, or cushions in an infant’s crib, bassinet or play yard.
Subsequent to our joint statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), along with the Consumer Federation of America, Kids in Danger, and the ConsumersUnion, published a letter urging retailers to cease selling crib bumpers because they believe bumpers create a hazardous sleep environment.
Many of these groups devoted to the health and welfare of infants and young children have guidelines recommending that crib bumpers should never be used. For example, the AAP’s guidance on reducing suffocation in cribs may be found here.
This is not a confusing or complicated issue. The bottom line is that when infants and young children are using a crib: Bare is Always Best.