Will Retailers Follow Suit?
The AAP now recommends that infants sleep on their backs, alone in a crib on a firm mattress, without any soft objects or loose bedding, which could also be hazardous, ideally in a room shared with a parent. Really, all that’s necessary when it comes to baby bedding is a fitted sheet.
Despite the fact that the AAP warned that crib bumpers could pose a serious safety risk to infants as early as 2008, little has changed when it comes to what expectant parents can find in their local baby super store—in part because baby bedding is big business. The JPMA says that at least $50 million worth of infant bedding sets that include bumpers are sold each year, as well as more than 200,000 bumper pad sets.
Unfortunately for parents, it can be confusing to see bumpers on display in stores, not to mention challenging to find crib bedding sold without bumpers, since bedding is often sold in four-piece sets, including a sheet, crib skirt, bumper, and quilt (which doesn’t belong in a safe sleep environment for an infant anyway). But it’s not impossible; Carousel Designs, for example, offers a la carte options for purchasing coordinating fitted crib sheets and crib skirts, and retailers like Babies”R”Us and Buy Buy Baby, as well as web sites like Amazon.com, offer standalone fitted crib sheets.
Dr. Moon said that she hopes retailers will stop selling crib bumpers in response to the AAP’s updated guidelines. “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.”
Next: How breastfeeding and vaccines can reduce the risk