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Are you considering purchasing a crib bumper for a baby on the way? Fluffy, patterned, and soft to the touch, crib bumpers have been sitting on the shelves of mainstream retailers for years. Seemingly harmless, crib bumpers can actually increase the risk of SIDS. (Yikes!) From 1985 to 2012, 48 infant deaths and 146 injuries (related to suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment) were directly connected to crib bumpers. Even scarier? In the more recent years of the study (2008 to 2012), the annual rate of crib bumper-related deaths nearly tripled.
Dr. Edward Kulich, The Baby Sleep Doctor, says crib bumpers should "absolutely not" be available to consumers, and he gave us three reasons why he recommends parents keep crib bumpers far away from, well, the crib:
1. Until about 3 to 4 months old, babies don't roll, and it's unlikely an infant would generate enough force to be injured.
2. Before 4 to 9 months old, babies can roll face-first into a crib bumper — the equivalent of using a pillow. There's certainly a theoretical risk of suffocation.
3. After 9 to 10 months old, most infants can pull themselves to a standing position and use the crib bumper as a step to fall out of the crib.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also states crib bumpers should never be used — and the warnings don't stop there. Chauntia Williams of Maple Heights, Ohio, lost her daughter, Aaliyah, due to her crib bedding (including bumpers).
"If only I had a naked crib, she would still be here," Williams said. "The pretty prints and cute animals aren't worth your child's last breath." Williams stresses going for a naked crib, and says she wouldn't even use a mesh liner.
"There's just no need for crib bumpers," she urges. "Parents worry about their child getting an arm or leg caught in the rails, but crib bumpers can lead to major issues."
Jacobsen sometimes works with families who don't want to give up the idea of a crib bumper all together. She says that that "in that case, go with mesh. Some parents will be purists and choose nothing at all, but for parents who want to use a crib bumper, mesh is the only way to go."
Even with the mesh version, it's important to find an option that's designed for air to flow freely and will collapse if your baby tries to step on it. Susan Klobuchar, a representative of Breathable Baby, says their mesh liner products go through extensive air permeability testing that's then reviewed by a pulmonologist. Breathable Baby has the highest safety testing standards in the category.
"Our liners are 15 to 20 times more permeable by air than traditional crib bumpers," Klobuchar said. She also confirmed their liners will collapse if baby tries to step on top.
Crib bumpers don't look so cute anymore, right? If you're still considering adorning your baby's sleeping space with a traditional bumper, it's time to reconsider and ask why the bumpers are even still being sold on the market. Ditch the idea of bringing home a crib bumper all together, and opt for a safer alternative — the mesh liner.
Here are some of our favorite options for the parents who won't go completely bare.
Keep it clean, simple, and fresh with a subtle white liner. Made of breathable mesh, the A.C.T. (Air Channel Technology) will help Mom and Dad rest easier when the lights go out.
Who says mesh liners can't be colorful? BreathableBaby offers some cool hues to jazz up your baby's nursery. If your little one's room is spotted with lilac and lavender, this is the best liner for you.
Remember, plenty of advocates say bare is best, but if you're going to place something around your baby's crib, it's better to use a mesh liner. We love this off-white ecru color that would suit any baby's sleeping space.
Your bubbie will have the sweetest dreams with this starry mesh crib liner. It's perfect for the nursery with a moon-and-stars nighttime theme.
Cool off your baby's nursery with this mesh liner in aqua. It's the perfect accent for a white, gray, or nautical nursery. See ya never, crib bumper!
Elegant and chic, this gray chevron-print liner will not only add a soothing feel to your baby's nursery, but it'll also soothe parents who worry about leaving a crib naked.
If you were considering a crib bumper just because of the cool patterns and shades that would complete a blue nursery, stop your search! This is the perfect option — and it's safer than a cushiony crib bumper, too.