This is such a common question. The crib bumper usage is confusing.
We are told NOT to use them, but they are still available for purchase and are often on show in stores, when looking to purchase your nursery set up.
Let's start by looking at?
"THE PURPOSE OF A CRIB BUMPER"
Originally, they were made of cotton and stuffed to create a padding around the edge of the crib, which are usually wooden and slatted.
They have ties to secure them, so that they can not be pulled off, and land on top of a baby.
Due to a common day anxiety around sleep and safety. A more common option is a mesh bumper. HOWEVER, it barely gives any protection against the head of an infant, as it has zero padding which is what the original bumper was all about.
Designed to prevent bashing and banging of those delicate bones.
The mesh one is only a good investment if you are not using a sleep sac, as it can stop your baby getting their limbs stuck, through the slats. But if you are trying to prevent your baby hurting themselves, then it would be money down the drain.
If you still feel torn and don't want to use anything around the crib, as sleep sac is an alternative option to avoid limbs getting stuck (legs only), arms may still get stuck.
PRO'S & CONS' OF CRIB BUMPERS
Let's start with the pros.
Protection from the crib slats in general - which are usually hard.
Protecting the head - babies will often bang their heads both accidentally and some children will bang their head as away to soothe, but when done so on the slats, they can get some minor bruising.
Stopping arms and limbs getting stuck between slats - when babies do this, you have to go in and help them out.
If they have a sleep association, then this also means you have help them go back to sleep.
Feeling of coziness when rolling around -
Increased risk of SIDS.
I not 100% convinced that they are THAT risky, I think going out in the car is more risky (personal opinion) but also backed up in the statistics below.
From 1983 to 2012 (a span of 29 years), crib bumpers *may, have been involved / present in 77 infant deaths, according to a study in the journal Paediatrics.
So now the AAP recommends not using any crib bumpers, even the ones made of breathable mesh.
They suggest "The safest crib bedding for your infant is a fitted crib sheet only"
No bumpers, No blankets, they say...
*the may is interesting, I guess they don't actually know, they are just thinking its a possibility.
The most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury. The most common cause of unintentional injury are car accidents.
Between 2010 and 2014 (ONLY 4 YEARS), 2,885 children died in a motor vehicle accidents, nationwide.
An average of 11 children a week.
WOW, and I'm sure you don't question
1. Putting your child in the the car to get to swim class
2. Music class
3.To drive around so that they can sleep
If I do want to use a crib bumper, when should I use one?
They are not needed for a newborn. Most small babies are put into bassinets which have both mesh sides and sometimes covered sides.
Super small babies are also not really going to travel too far anyway.
Give it about 4 months and your little baby will be moving about and getting themselves in all sorts of trouble.
As soon as you are ready to move your baby into their own space, and they can move about and get pushed up against the slats, they are fine to have crib bumpers around their crib.
If the thought of using bumpers does scare you. An alternative option would be to have your child sleep in a pack n play, it has mesh sides which is in essence a built in mesh bumper, and no slats so if you are really struggling due to having a little mover and groover on your on your hands.
However, if you listen to the advice of the APP, it sounds like they would rule this out too.
IMO the answer to this questions is YES, provided you attach them safety to the crib, and you are confident in your decision to use them.
If you listened to every bit of advice of what to do and not to do you would literally go around in circles.
Everything you do is risky - including putting one foot in front of the other, walking down the stairs, but some risks outweigh others.
Have questions or concerns about your infants sleep space?
Then please connect vie email.
I am more than happy to help you become a more confident parent around your babies sleeping environment. When I consult with clients, we always look at the nursery set up during the call so that clients have that extra piece of mind.
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