The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement Tuesday October 18 at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston entitled "SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment". The report says that crib bumpers should not be used because there is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment. When I read this, my first question was, "Does this include breathable crib bumpers?"
A quick call to the office of Debbie Linchesky, listed as a media contact for the AAP, confirmed that the new guideline does indeed include breathable bumpers. I also picked through the actual technical report itself and read this:
There are other products that attach to crib sides or crib slats that claim to protect infants from injury. However, there are no published data that support these claims. Because of the potential for suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation and lack of evidence to support that bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides prevent injury in young infants, the AAP does not recommend their use.
Prior to this new pronouncement, the AAP guidance was to use bumpers only that were not overly puffy. Of course, bumpers will remain on the store shelves unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission decides to act on this new AAP report. I called the CPSC to get a comment and am waiting for a reply.
Dr. Rachel Moon, chairperson of the AAP's SIDS task force, told CNN, "The problem is that a lot of parents don't understand that the Consumer Products Safety Commission is not a proactive agency; it's a reactive agency. So, it only recalls things if there's a problem. It doesn't approve products before they go on the market. And a lot of parents have this perception that it stores sell it, it must be safe--because if it wasn't safe, why would people sell it? And that's clearly not true. I think that it's important that parents realize that these things are not safe for their babies."
For more information about the new guidelines, please check out these links:
•AAP News Release
•Technical Report, SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment
•Get bumpers out of cribs, doctor group urges
(Image: Flickr member Salim Virji licensed under Creative Commons license)