Bumper Ban in the Big City

Last Thursday, the Chicago city council voted unanimously to ban the sale of crib bumpers within the city limits.  The new law makes Chicago the first – but hopefully not the last! – municipality to outlaw the sale of padded crib guards.  While the law doesn’t ban use of the bumpers (only the sale of them), I think it does bring extra attention to a very worthy cause.

For years, experts (including most pediatricians) have cautioned against using bumpers, citing increased risk of suffocation because a young baby doesn’t have the strength to move her head away from the pad should it get stuck.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission reports 690 infant deaths between 1992 and 2010 that were associated with pillows or cushions in cribs. On the other hand, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association says that bumpers prevent arms and legs from slipping between the crib rails and from heads getting bumped in the night.  Yeah, I’m gonna side with the experts on this one…!!!

I never bought a bumper.  Or any cute nursery bed linens.  The only things in my babies’ crib are an organic crib mattress from OMI and a tight-fitting organic cotton sheet.  Now that Mack is a little older, he likes to snuggle with a little lovey as he falls asleep, but I only allowed that once he was able to really move around on his own. Yes, the crib looks a little plain, perhaps a little boring, but the kids never seemed to mind, and I slept a lot better at night knowing they were sleeping safely.  And, while this is purely anecdotal, my kids never suffered bruised foreheads or pinched arms because I failed to add a bumper to the crib.

Sure, it would have been so gosh-darn cute to have a complete bedding ensemble waiting for my babies.  But, its just not worth the risk.  The bottom line is that cribs are safe – if not safer! – without bumpers!

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3 Comments for this entry

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m glad for the attention that this ban is bringing too. I never bought any cute bedding either but my son was/is terrible about getting his arms and legs caught in his crib slats. I got him one of those thin “breathable” bumpers to help prevent him from getting caught (and he was probably 9 months old before I put them on) and it helps… some but nothing but time will fix that. I really doubt that those pillowy bumpers would work any better and I’d have definitely been afraid of him squashing his face in them at night.

  2. danielle sell says:

    We were a bumper-free household as well until Amelia was about 2 months and started waking up **screaming** in the middle of the night/mornings with her legs stuck between the bars. We purchased the breathable bumpers and they were a nice compromise – safe *and* cute!

  3. Allison H. says:

    I think the safety of your children is obviously a huge concern for any parent. I do all I can to help keep my kids safe, but a ban telling a store what they can/ can’t sell, or restricting what a consumer may/may not be able to buy at a store? Seriously?? I would like to think I have enough common sense to purchase/ not purchase what I would like for my child. What is next bans on cars, hot dogs, grapes, because of the threats they pose to children? Where do you draw the line? If you don’t want to use bumpers (which I personally don’t), then just don’t buy them. I would like to have less of the government telling me what to do, and more of people using common sense and having more personal freedom please.

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