You might be wondering, “Why do parents use crib bumpers?”, and to answer that – it’s for the added safety. Babies have a tendency to move around and get curious about their surroundings. And sometimes, they bump into the crib, which is where crib bumpers add a bit of cushioning. But, are crib bumpers safe for babies? Well, we will answer that below and explain where and in what cases to use them.
What are crib bumpers, and what are they used for?
Crib bumpers are designed to prevent the head or feet of a baby from accidentally slipping through the crib’s slats. Sometimes, babies might get their head stuck or hurt themselves by slipping through. The bumpers also surround the interiors of a baby’s crib and prevent them from falling down as well. You may think crib bumpers are safe for babies since they provide added padding. But, they’re not. There have been cases where crib bumper pads ended up being detrimental to the baby’s safety. Even doctors have advised against using them, since many deaths were reported through the use of these bumpers.
What are the risks associated with crib bumpers?
If you’re asking yourself “Are crib bumpers safe for babies?” – the answer is no.
Here are the following risks associated with them:
1. There is risk of death by suffocation.
Babies could accidentally land with their mouths on the bumper and be unable to breathe. This can lead to death by suffocation by getting the mouth or nose stuck under the padding.
2. They don’t work very well.
A 2015 study has shown that crib bumpers aren’t as effective as parents originally thought. Babies still bumped their heads through the slats despite the added padding and got their legs stuck between the slats.
3. Babies can still get injured.
As babies grow older and learn how to crawl and climb, they can use the bumpers for extra elevation and step out of the crib. This increases the risk of falling out. Babies also learn how to roll as the months go by and have an increased risk of sustaining head injuries by bumping into these bumpers.
Are breathable bumpers safe?
Manufacturers have started producing breathable bumpers these days in response to the safety concerns for regular baby bumpers. These have a mesh lining which makes the fabric breathable, thus preventing babies from suffocating to death. But even so, the question of mesh crib bumper safety remains debatable at best, because kids can still stand up on them and fall off, despite the fact that they’re collapsible.
Safe Crib Bumper Alternatives
If you’re still thinking of using crib bumpers and want to somehow negate the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), you can turn to safer alternatives. These alternatives let your little one enjoy the benefits of crib bumpers without facing any of the fatal consequences or side effects, making the crib a much safer place.
1. Mesh Crib Liners
Mesh Crib Liners add to the breathability factor and allows smoother airflow into the crib. Besides letting your baby sleep peacefully, these liners are far better than your standard crib liners. You won’t have to worry about your baby getting stuck between the rails because of how they are set up. Keep in mind though that they won’t prevent your baby from bumping into the rails or hitting them. They don’t give any cushioning, but just prevent them from getting stuck between them. The good news is that they are available in various colours, sizes and are easy to fit onto the crib.
2. Vertical Crib Bumper Pads
Vertical crib bumper pads take a different approach. They are used to add extra padding to the rails themselves instead of cushioning the crib. By reducing the spacing between the rails and adding more padding, kids are less likely to slip through the spaces or get stuck. The added advantage is that the padding prevents them from getting hurt. They also allow even airflow and prevent the baby from getting outside the rails.
3. Crib Rail Covers
Crib Rail Covers are suspended from the top of the rails and prevent the baby from biting or chewing onto the rails. Some kids instinctively bite onto rails and become curious. This could injure their gums or lead to tooth infections. These rail covers prevent them from doing that, and also prevent their hands and feet from slipping through the rails.
4. Baby Sleeping Bags
This is another solution for solving the problem of using crib covers. Babies who get inside baby sleeping bags feel more comfortable and warm. Most of the new models are designed with swaddling in mind and give enough room for movement. When your little one slips into one of these, you don’t have to worry about their legs getting stuck between the rails. Also, these sleeping bags prevent smothering since your baby can’t push the blankets around.
Are crib bumpers safe for a 1-year-old and above?
Crib bumpers are not designed to be used for babies who are 1 year old and below. Your child needs to be more than a year old if you’re planning to use crib bumpers. There are many crib bumpers available these days with mesh designs and breathable fabrics. These are safer to use and prevent injuries or suffocation, even if the baby presses their mouth on them. Additionally, crib bumpers these days are crafted using organic materials like cotton and bamboo. If you are worried about food spillage or want crib bumpers that work for sensitive skin types, you may consider using them.
Some parents prefer not to use crib bumpers at all and opt for baby sleeping bags, while most parents think crib bumpers are a necessity. Manufacturers are coming up with more creative and functional designs for these bumper pads which add an extra layer of security so that not all crib bumper pads are the same. Comfort and security were what they were designed for and you can indeed find high-quality crib bumper pads that meet your little one’s requirements. And when your baby is swaddled properly, you don’t have to worry about them bumping their heads or feet onto the bumper pads.
Again, we are not totally against crib bumper pads. We recommend that you do your research and look for breathable and more versatile designs before you finalize on buying them. That way, your baby stays safe and you don’t have to worry about them getting hurt in the middle of the night.