As a new mom, it can be hard to keep track of what's safe and unsafe for baby—especially when items like crib bumpers, which have been linked to dozens of pediatric deaths, are sold in stores across the country. Lawmakers are working to make things a little less confusing.
This week, Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) proposed the Safe Cribs Act, which is a bill that would ban the sale of crib bumpers.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 3,500 American infants die annually while sleeping, often from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or from accidental suffocation or strangulation. Since 1985, dozens of these deaths, as well as more than 100 serious injuries, have been directly attributed to bumpers. And this bill would ensure that number doesn't increase.
"The fact that these deadly products can still be found on shelves across the country is extremely confusing to new parents who don't believe stores would be selling them if they were truly dangerous to babies," Duckworth says in a press release. "We should be doing everything we can to help new parents and end preventable deaths like these, which is why I'm proud to be introducing this bipartisan bill with Senators Portman and Blumenthal that would ban the sale of deadly padded crib bumpers."
"The use of crib bumpers pose an unnecessary threat to the health and safety of infants everywhere, there is no reason the sale of these dangerous items should continue," Portman, whose home state of Ohio has already banned bumpers, adds. "Congress must also act to protect infants from an unnecessary and unacceptable risk."
The Safe Cribs Act would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to take a step further than its current recommendation against crib bumper use, and enforce a nationwide ban. "This bill would ensure deadly and dangerous crib bumpers are pulled off store shelves," Blumenthal says in the press release. "New parents can still unwittingly purchase this perilous padding for their children's cribs despite dozens of babies suffocating. I'm glad to back this bipartisan effort with Senators Duckworth and Portman to prevent more needless tragedies."
The legislation has been endorsed by a number of pediatric associations, including the AAP. "Pediatricians know that the safest sleep environment for babies is a firm, flat, bare surface," AAP President Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, says in a statement. "Crib bumpers have no place in a safe sleep environment – they pose a risk of suffocation for infants and should not be on the market. The Safe Cribs Act would protect infant lives and help prevent families from experiencing tragedy by prohibiting the sale of these dangerous products. The American Academy of Pediatrics thanks Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation and is urging for its swift passage into law."
In 2011, Chicago became the first city to ban the sale of crib bumpers. Two years later, Maryland also banned the sale of these products, with Ohio following suit in 2017. In addition to a nationwide sales ban, the bill would also make it unlawful to manufacture and import crib bumpers.
We know you've already got so much on your plate and just want to keep your baby safe, mama. The Safe Cribs Act is intended to help do just that.