The number of crib bumper related deaths among infants has increased over the past years, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using them, a new study finds.
Crib bumpers (cushioning) are padded blankets that are meant to keep babies from bumping against the hard sides, or getting their limbs stuck between the wooden crib slats.
In the new study – published November 24 in The Journal of Pediatrics – the researchers found that people reported 23 deaths linked to crib bumpers to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from 2006 to 2012.
Researchers say that during three previous studies that lasted seven years, only 8 deaths linked to the use of crib bumpers were reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is almost three times lower than the 2006 – 2012 study results.
Dr. Bradley T. Thach, a professor emeritus of paediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that the infant deaths that occurred because of the crib bumpers could have been prevented, had the cribs been empty.
For the study, the researchers analysed the data collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission between 1985 and 2012. They found that during that time, 48 babies died in accidents that involved crib bumpers. Another 146 infants were nearly chocked, suffocated, or strangled to death.
Of the 48 deaths, 32 were cause by crib bumpers alone, the researchers found. The infants got caught between the crib mattresses and the bumpers in 13 of the cases. The 32 deaths could have been prevented, if parents had not used the bumpers in the crib, according to the researchers.
The researchers also looked at data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths on infant deaths and crib bumpers. The findings show that another 32 deaths occurred in 37 U.S. states between 2008 and 2011.
After combining the data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission with the data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths, the researchers found that in recent years there have been 77 deaths linked to crib bumpers.
Although there are no federal regulations regarding the safety of crib bumpers, the state of Chicago banned the sale of these items in 2011, and the state of Maryland banned the sale crib bumpers in 2014. They suggested that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission should ban crib bumpers nationwide.
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