New Bipartisan Senate Bill Aims to Take Down Crib Bumpers: ‘The Key Is Keeping Our Babies Safe’

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For years, cribs have been manufactured with a large distance in between every slat. Mother and father have been involved their little one’s head or limbs would get caught within the slats, or that the toddler might fall out. Crib bumpers have been marketed as a strategy to mitigate these considerations. However analysis exhibits a rise within the variety of toddler deaths associated to crib bumpers. (boujiandnouna / Flickr)

For folks on the brink of deliver a brand new baby dwelling, there is usually a lengthy guidelines of issues and merchandise to get. One of many largest gadgets on that guidelines is the crib the place the child will sleep. 

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-In poor health.), a mom of two, vividly remembers this expertise. She remembers being gifted bedding units for each of her daughters’ cribs. These units included crib bumpers, a product that line, and sometimes pad, the perimeter of the crib. Initially, crib bumpers have been created and offered for security functions, however analysis has proven it truly is dangerous and may trigger suffocation. 

“The one my daughter obtained had lovely butterflies throughout it, and you understand, you wish to set up it,” Duckworth advised Ms. “You suppose it’s obtained to be secure as a result of it says on the surface ‘examined for security’ … But it surely’s examined for fireplace retardant, it’s not examined for choking hazard.”

Research published in 2015 confirmed a rise within the variety of toddler deaths associated to crib bumpers. The research analyzed information from 1985 to 2012 and noticed a 3 time enhance in bumper deaths from 2005 to 2012. The research famous that larger reporting charges could possibly be an element of this. 

For years, cribs have been typically manufactured with a large distance in between every slat. Parents have been involved their little one’s head or limbs would get caught within the slats, or that the toddler might fall out. Crib bumpers have been marketed as a strategy to mitigate these considerations. 

In 2011, the U.S. Shopper Product Security Fee estimated as many as 200 infants a year have been dying due to poor crib design. Federal regulations applied that very same 12 months required producers and distributors to abide by a brand new collection of guidelines, together with a standardized slat distance and mattress size for cribs.

Pediatrician Dr. Poj Lysouvakon mentioned these rules alleviated the necessity for crib bumpers all collectively. And but, even at the moment, the merchandise are nonetheless broadly offered. 

“With the benefit of on-line purchasing and with us being so remoted COVID and having fewer in-person conferences along with your pediatrician, it may be complicated on the market,” mentioned Lysouvakon. “I at all times inform dad and mom, ‘half the stuff that’s on the market you don’t want in your child.’”

You suppose it’s obtained to be secure as a result of it says on the surface “examined for security” … But it surely’s examined for fireplace retardant, it’s not examined for choking hazard.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-In poor health.)

A survey conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being in 2020 confirmed a majority of fogeys within the research had heard of crib bumpers and practically 65 p.c had used the product for his or her youngsters. 

Lysouvakon, who’s the director for College of Chicago Medical Middle’s Pediatric Damage Prevention Program says the most suitable choice for toddler security is to maintain what’s within the crib to a minimal. When doubtful, he recommends asking your doctor. 

“We are saying nothing tender or squishy. So positively no blankets, quilts, stuffed animals,” Lysouvakon mentioned. “Nothing must be within the sleeping space with the child; it ought to simply be a plain, agency, flat floor with a fitted sheet.”

One other consider why dad and mom are nonetheless buying these merchandise is well-intentioned, however outdated recommendation. 

“A variety of dad and mom get hand-me-down info from relations, grandparents of new child infants, the place issues are very totally different again then as to what they’re these days, particularly with these new federal rules mandating the protection of how cribs are manufactured,” mentioned Lysouvakon. “I feel it’s actually vital dad and mom attain out to their child’s supplier, pediatrician or different care supplier simply to get the straight information which are evidence-based.”

This sentiment was echoed by Duckworth. 

“My mother-in-law was very excited; my eldest daughter is the primary grandbaby of both household,” mentioned Duckworth. “And when the child was born, she rapidly went out and located a stunning, transportable, collapsible crib at a storage sale. … I needed to inform her we are able to’t use it as a result of it’s truly harmful.”

As for Lysouvakon, he has been practising drugs lengthy sufficient to witness the difficulty of crib bumper security taken to a legislative stage, beginning together with his personal metropolis: Chicago. 

In 2011, the Chicago City Council dominated to ban the sale of crib bumpers, setting a pattern just a few states would observe. 

Now, motion is occurring on the federal stage. 

Duckworth launched bipartisan legislation alongside Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that will cease the manufacturing, distribution and gross sales of crib bumpers within the U.S. This laws, referred to as the Protected Cribs Act, is much like a bill that passed the U.S. Home of Representatives in 2019. Duckworth anticipates the Protected Cribs Act will quickly move the Senate. 

“The rules, the legal guidelines round these items have modified through the years, it’s exhausting for folks to maintain up with what they’re,” Duckworth mentioned. “However the important thing to all of that is simply retaining our infants secure.”

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