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Are Crib Bumpers Safe For Your Baby? | What The Experts Say

baby in crib with crib bumbers

As soon as you have a little one, so much of your energy (and money) goes toward keeping them safe. Those instincts kick in quickly! Crib bumpers are one of the baby products on the market that can be confusing.

Are they actually safe for your baby?

If you’re trying to decide if a crib bumper is a necessity in your baby’s nursery, you’re in the right place. We’ll take a look at exactly what crib bumpers are, what they’re meant to accomplish, and whether or not they’re safe for your little one.

What Are Crib Bumpers?

Crib with a crib bumber

It’s a wild world out there when it comes to all of the baby products on the market! It can be hard to know what’s what, if an item is safe, and what to put on your registry.

Crib bumpers are one of those things you’ve probably seen but might not know much about. So what exactly are they?

Crib bumpers are pillow-like walls that sit in or attach to the inside of a baby crib and go around the entirety of the crib.

The idea is that they provide a cushion so your baby won’t hit their head on the slats and a protective wall to keep your baby from getting an arm or leg stuck in-between the slats.

What’s The Difference Between Crib Bumpers And Crib Liners?

If you’re confused about the difference between crib bumpers and crib liners, it’s with good reason. They’re very similar.

Bumpers create a barrier that keeps your baby from touching (or getting stuck in) the slats. They usually sit inside the crib or attach to the slats, and they’re more fluffy and pillow-like than crib liners.

baby sleeping in crib with crib liner

Crib liners, on the other hand, are slimmer and made of thin fabric (sometimes mesh) that stands between the mattress and the crib slats. These are usually attached to the outside of the crib with ribbon or string.

Are Crib Bumpers Safe For My Baby?

mom with baby sleeping in crib

These contraptions known as crib bumpers seem like a great idea, right? You can’t bear to think of your little one accidentally hitting their head on the slats of the crib or getting one of their tiny legs stuck in the cracks.

However, your baby bumping their head or getting a limb stuck might not be as much of a concern as you think.

First of all, around 50 years ago, crib regulations changed, making cribs much safer. Now, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends no more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats.

With that sort of gap, your baby’s head has no chance of getting stuck.

This is one reason it’s a good idea to buy a new crib rather than a used one — you’ll be more certain that it’s up to current safety standards. You can even bring your own measuring tape along when shopping for a crib.

Secondly, even if they’re moving around in their sleep, your little one isn’t likely to hit their head with much force.

And your baby bumping their head on the crib or getting a limb stuck isn’t likely to be life-threatening, but there are some pretty significant cons to a crib bumper.

Crib bumpers seem beneficial in theory, but upon closer look, they can actually do more harm than good. It turns out that the potential cons of bumpers outweigh the pros.

Why? Let’s take a look at the risks.

Risks Of Crib Bumpers

baby asleep in crib

The problem with crib bumpers is there’s not a lot of evidence that they do what they’re supposed to do, and the risks are pretty concerning.

1) Increased Risk Of Suffocation

One serious concern with crib bumpers is that they can make it difficult for your baby to breathe if they turn so that their face is against the bumper or between the bumper and the mattress.

To decrease the risk of suffocation, put your baby to sleep on a breathable mattress. That way, if they roll over in the middle of the night, they can breathe straight through the mattress.

The other way to decrease the risk of suffocation is to skip the crib bumper altogether. However, suffocation isn’t even the greatest risk that crib bumpers pose. That brings us to our next point.

2) Increased Risk Of Strangulation Or Entrapment

Even more than the possibility of your baby having a hard time breathing, crib bumpers are risky because your little one could become trapped or get a piece of the bumper (like a tie) wrapped around their neck.

With a bumper in their crib, your baby could become stuck between it and the mattress or between it and the crib slats. Additionally, the fabric, strings, or ties of the bumper could wrap around your baby’s neck or another part of their body.

Bad news.

3) Increased Chance Of Falling Out Of Bed

Once your little one gets into the climbing phase, having a bumper in their crib is kind of like them having a small stepladder in their crib. If that sounds like a bad idea, it’s because it is!

Your baby might get creative and use the crib bumper to give them a boost as they try to climb out of the crib. And, of course, the risk of them attempting to climb out of the crib is that they could fall and injure themselves.

baby standing in crib with out crib bumpers

What About Breathable Crib Bumpers And Liners?

You might be wondering if a breathable bumper or liner would do the trick, providing benefits without posing a risk for suffocation. The answer? It’s still not worth the risk.

While breathability is important when it comes to your baby’s crib mattress and sheets, a mesh or breathable crib bumper or liner still doesn’t cut it.

Remember, the biggest concern with these products isn’t necessarily suffocation. Instead, it’s entrapment, strangulation, and falling.

Skip the crib bumper (and liner!) and focus on buying a breathable crib mattress for your little one. The Newton Baby Crib Mattress is both 100% breathable and 100% washable, making it safe for your baby and easy to keep clean!

The Newton Baby Crib Mattress

Plus, our mattresses are Greenguard Gold Certified certified for low chemical emissions. Even better when it comes to safe sleep for your baby!

Why Are Crib Bumpers Still Sold?

If at this point in the article you’re wondering why crib bumpers are still being sold, we’re asking the same question.

However, some states in the United States have already banned selling crib bumpers, and there are plenty of warnings about them.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) specifically recommends not putting a crib bumper or liner in your baby’s bed. In fact, they recommend a bare crib. No toys, no pillows, no blankets, no bumpers.

That brings us to our next, and final, point. If it’s not safe to put your baby to sleep with a crib bumper, what is OK for them to sleep with and how can you decorate the nursery in a safe way?

What Should Go In My Baby’s Crib?

baby sleeping in crib

This is an easy question to answer! For safe sleep, three things should go in your baby’s crib: a breathable crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and your little one. That’s it! Simple, right?

1) A Breathable Crib Mattress

For the first several months, your baby will spend the majority of their time sleeping! For that reason, you’ll want to make sure that their mattress is both safe and comfortable.

Opt for a mattress that allows your baby to breathe straight through it as well as one that won’t off-gas toxic chemicals into the air your baby breathes.

Made with a Wovenaire® Core (90% air and 10% food-grade polymer), our Crib Mattress is both breathable and certified for low chemical emissions. This is one easy baby registry decision!

2) A Fitted Sheet

Newton baby fitted sheets
Bumpers might look nice, but there are other ways to make the crib cute without putting your baby in danger. Go with adorable crib sheets and nothing more.

Give your baby comfort and breathability with Newton Baby’s Organic Cotton Sheets. Choose from four fun prints to add a special touch to their crib without sacrificing safety.

3) Your Baby

Other than a crib mattress and fitted sheet, the only thing left to put in the crib is your precious baby!

If you’re wondering how your little one will stay warm, the best option is using a swaddle or sleep sack. It’s not considered safe sleep to put your baby to bed with a blanket.

That’s it! That’s all that should go in your baby’s crib. As far as the rest of the nursery, feel free to decorate to your heart’s content!

Skip The Crib Bumper

baby in crib without crib bumpers

The bottom line is that crib bumpers just aren’t the best choice when it comes to crib safety. They pose a significant risk to your baby’s well-being and may not even be effective in doing what they claim to do.

Instead of lining your baby’s bed with a bumper or liner, keep it simple and safe with a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress, and a fitted sheet.

That’s all you need to keep your little one safe while they snooze the night away!

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