Md. Panel: Crib Bumpers A Hazard To Babies

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A strong warning for parents who may be using crib bumpers. A Maryland panel of pediatricians wants to strip them from shelves.

As Gigi Barnett explains, Maryland could be the first state in the nation to ban the bumpers.

Parents believe cribs are one of the safest places for babies. But if that crib has a bumper, one state panel says it could kill. Crib bumpers are designed to keep babies from hitting their heads, but some studies show babies can roll into the bumper and suffocate or choke on its strings.

Nationwide, bumpers are blamed for at least two infant deaths.

“They’re very dangerous, I would never use them,” said one person.

State Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is considering the panel’s recommendation to pull the product from shelves. Three years ago, he asked the FDA to ban cold medicines for infants from stores and it worked. Now, he may do the same with bumpers, making Maryland a trailblazer.

“I don’t know of any reason why you would use a crib bumper or any expert who is advocating for that,” he said.

But companies that make the bumpers say if installed properly, they’re no danger to infants. For that reason, some parents say it’s all they have to keep babies safe.

“I’m sure that people will end up buying them just somewhere else. I have them,” said Sylvia Gutowska.

If the recommendations are approved, it would not block parents from using crib bumpers that they already have or driving to other states to buy them.

In addition to Maryland, other states are considering the bumper ban. Illinois’ Attorney General has asked manufacturers to stop making the bumpers.

More from Gigi Barnett
  • RlYnn

    Actually, hitting tiny heads on railings can hurt as well….and they do make safe bumpers now. This is another example of the government trying to tell us what we can and can’t do in life.

  • Doug

    Yes, the ten scariest words are,

    We’re from the government and we are here to help.

    Attention ; All Babies !!
    Please go back to banging your heads against the side of the crib,
    until further notice.

    Stay tuned to Uncle Sammy for more Bizarro directions

  • Terri

    Yes, bumping one’s head on a crib rail does hurt, but it doesn’t kill. Whereas a improperly installed bumper pad, or a pad not up to code has the potential to kill a child.
    As someone who install car seats and tests the safety of those installed by parents, I can tell you greater than 50% are installed incorrectly by parents.
    Are you really williing to risk your child’s life because of a potential boo boo on the head.

    • Stephanie R Shaun J

      If im buying something for my child in the crib, you damn right its going to be installed properly!!! Just because stupid parents dont want to take the time to read directions carefully and install it the right way, doesnt mean we all shouldnt be able to have crib bumpers. Come on people

  • John

    My wife was initially against using a bumper because of BS warnings like this one, but thankfully we finally put it in and has helped protect our son’s head A LOT. He moves around so much in his sleep that his head would be really bruised and he’s never get any sleep because the pain would constantly wake him. Seriously, how hard is it to install a bumper properly? It’s not rocket science.

    • openminded

      proper instalation has nothing to do with this issue. how would you feel had you chose to use the bumper and installed it properly yet you find that your child has suffocated. Then have people constantly saying well its no big deal because your child was the only one it happened too. And have people making ignorant comments saying you negleted to use the product correctly. My point is properly installed or not children are dying from an unecesary product. Infants do not move with enough force to do damage but they can easily smother if the roll the wrong way. when a child is a little older it is a different story kids bump their heads all the time. So why not get rid of the current stlye of bumper and design one that eliminates the chance of suffocation. For instance my husband and I wrapped each bar of the crib individually now my son can bounce around in his crib as much as he wants and still sleep safely.

  • Ernie

    If they ban bumpers are they going to start making infant sized sleeping helmets and then make that a law that babies wear them too?

  • Missy Galich Brown

    I never even really thought about the bumping their head thing……….My kids and my grandaughter would get their hand or foot caught in between the rails when moving around in their sleep and the bumper kept that from happening.

  • Dinger

    Just more Nanny-stateism!

  • MomWithABumper!

    Nationwide, bumpers are blamed for at least two infant deaths.

    “They’re very dangerous, I would never use them,” said one person

    LOL literally! The things you people call news?

  • DevilsAdvocate

    I took a child death investigations course in my undergraduate studies and I did learn that baby bumpers can kill. They are extremely unsafe when the newborn or infant still cannot roll over that well, and when the do not have enough strength to hold their head up by themselves. This is a object (baby bumpers) that can possibly suffocate young newborns. This is not to say that once they get to be a few months older the bumpers cannot be placed back into the crib. It is at this stage that the bumpers are actually needed to protect infants from bumping their heads.
    Therefore, the potential for a child’s death is in the early stages of life. These baby bumpers can come into handy once the newborn becomes an infant. I think that these facts need to be taken into consideration, and instead of banning the product have it suggested to parents to not use the product until the child is a certain age.

    • MomWithABumper!

      You make the very point that this “well-researched” article fails to mention. ANYTHING can be a hazard to a baby who can not roll over fully – hence the Back-to-Sleep movement by pediatricians. But really, inciting hysteria over the comments of one anonymous source and while still very sad, acting as if 2 deaths = thousands is just plain wrong, and bad journalism too.

  • openminded

    I agree that any product can be dangerous but what people are failing to realize is that crib bumpers can be installed correctly and most children will be fine but the bumpers should only be used while the child is an infant. Once they can move around the possibility of them yanking on the bumper is very good. This is when it becomes dangerous. The fact that two children have died may not sound like a lot but if it was your child that died because you used an unnecesary product wouldnt you agree to the ban. Two people lost there child because they used an unecessary product that was not safe. Anyone who cares about the saftey of their child would understand the severity of this issue. When I read this article and the comments I was very dissapointed to see how many peoplle were upset that a person is trying to insure the saftey of all children. Two deaths is two too many

    • MomWithABumper!

      I said that it was very sad and as a mom, I would never discount the death of any child. I am not disagreeing with the crusade to keep kids safe. I am against the context of the article. The issues are being better raised in the comments than the article. They want to send people into hysteria when really they should be advocating safe use of crib bumpers: proper installation, age appropriate use, etc. Writing an almost factless article about how Maryland may be banning crib bumpers is absurd when there is better information to be relayed.

      • openminded

        In that case I agree that the article was poorly written with little substance. My problem is how many people made angry comments about the ban itself and blamed parents for being neglegent when that is not the case. As for your suggestion that the article should have been geared toward advocating crib bumper saftey I have to disagree slightly. the information you suggested should be provided with the product itself and the information would not have supported the main idea wich is banning the bumpers. As Americans we tend to rely on our government to protect us. We want that feeling of satey especially when we buy products. We expect everything we buy to meet certain saftey standards. My son was injured while he was in a baby carrier. I reported the incedent and was told they were sending some free gifts and a box to return the product too see if the product was dangerous or if mine was defective. I recieved the gifts with out a problem yet I have been calling about the return box for over a year. I now boycott infantino products because I realized they did not care if other children were harmed. I know how it feels to have my child injured by a product and the product is still sold with not as much as a warning sticker to inform parents of the possibility of harm. My point being if a child is hurt by any product when it was being used properly it needs to be pulled from the self and redesigned to eliminate the problem. This is the part I agree with you on is that the article went over board. They should have mentoioned the dangers faced with crib bumpers and the facts that prove them unnecessary for infants. Another idea would be suggesting bumpers be pulled from the shelf and redesigned for parents who still worry that their child may bump their head, especially the children between 5 months to 18 months. For instance my 14 month old son is a dare devil himself. To make his crib safer once he hit five months we wrapped each bar on his crib seperatly. His head is protected when he bumps it but their is not a solid peice of fabric that could smother him.

  • Md. Panel: Crib Bumpers A Hazard To Babies |

    […] more on CBS Baltimore This entry was posted in Baby Furniture and tagged Babies, Bumpers, Crib, Hazard, Panel. […]



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