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Are Crib Bumpers Safe?

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Jeanne Roberts There have been 0 comments

In February of 2016, the Consumer Product Safety Commission set out to determine if baby crib bumpers – those foam-filled pads that fit around the perimeter of a crib – are indeed safe, or if more rules governing manufacture and use are needed to make them so.

Crib bumpers are designed to protect baby’s delicate head and skull from the slats of a crib extending above the mattress. They are not designed to keep baby – or any part of baby – from slipping down between a too-small mattress and the sides of the crib.

This last – improperly-made or improperly-sized crib mattresses (from foreign manufacturers who are not  covered by the CPSC’s standards for cribs) – is one of the greatest causes of infant injury and death.

Each year, in the United States, about 3,500 babies die from what the CDC calls  SUIDs, or sudden unexpected infant deaths. Most are the result of unsafe sleeping environments, ranging from suffocation (by soft bedding like a pillow or waterbed mattress) to “overlay” (when a sleeping person rolls against or over an infant) to strangulation, as when the infant’s head or neck or even arm or leg) gets pinned between a crib’s mattress and its railings.

To insure that SUIDs happen as seldom as possible, the CPSC has already mandated the precise distance between railings (2 3/8 inches). This insures that no part of an infant’s body can get stuck between rails. Other regulations include:

  • No missing rails or slats
  • No loose, broken or improperly sized or installed screws or other hardware
  • No corner posts more than 1/16 inch higher than rails, so baby’s clothing can’t get caught
  • No headboard or footboard cutouts to trap baby’s head
  • Stronger slats, rails and mattress supports
  • No drop-side rails
  • No undersized or outsize mattresses or cribs

Re that last item, crib mattresses must be 27 1/4 inches x 51 1/4 inches, and no thicker (deeper) than 6 inches. Cribs must have interior dimensions of 28 ± 5/8 inches (71 ± 1.6 centimeters) in width, and 52 3/8 ± 5/8 inches (133 ± 1.6 centimeters) in length. In addition, the CPSC notes, the assembly instructions, the retail carton for the crib, and the crib itself must contain a specific warning statement that notes these dimensions.

Pediatricians, nurses and safety experts also recommend that mattresses have square corners, for a snug fit, and that they be filled with certified organic cotton and covered with the same material, to prevent outgassing – which may be one of the major causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. They also recommend firm, 150-coil plus edge support, and seamless/sealed seams to prevent mold and mildew when a diaper accidentally overflows.

You could shop for days, but why bother when one stop at the Green Home store will get you all these recommendations plus a mattress that flips over when your baby becomes a toddler and is safe (and more comfortable) on a slightly softer surface.

That way, you can take the saved time and spend it bonding with your baby, which is the most important part of early parenting.

This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Childcare, Health and Safety and was tagged with baby crib, baby mattress, crib bumper, green baby, infant safety, mildew, mold, ORGANIC, outgassing, SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, SUIDs, USA MADE


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