According to a new study crib bumper-related mortality in infants tripled in the last 25 years. Bradley Thach, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said that the padded objects can boost risk of suffocation while infants are at sleep.
Dr. Thach added that he and his colleagues are now trying to persuade the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban the bumpers in the U.S. for good. The doctor explained that a baby’s head can either wedge against the bumper or get trapped between the bumper and mattress. This is how the baby’s nose and mouth can be blocked and the child eventually suffocates.
The suffocation can occur in two scenarios – whether the baby can no longer breathe or the baby can breathe but just the same air over again. The ’re-breathing’ depletes the air of oxygen and the infant eventually dies from suffocation.
Parents usually buy the bumpers because they hope to protect their babies’ from getting injured while bumping their heads against the crib or to prevent their limbs from being caught in crib slats. But Thach explained that these accidents usually result in minor bruises, and it is safer to prevent limb entrapment with mesh bumpers.
The study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics on Tuesday.
The findings are consistent with reports from both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The two agencies cautioned against crib bumpers because of high mortality risk, as well.
But several experts claim that blankets, toys and pillows can be more dangerous than padded bumpers. Nevertheless, the bumpers are not regulated beyond a 2012 recommendation on their thickness.
The recent study was based on data on infant deaths from crib bumpers between 1985 and 2012. Researchers also sifted through data on bumper–related crib injuries between 1990 and 2012.
According to the research, 48 babies died because of suffocation caused by padded bumpers, and 146 almost died, nearly choked, were entrapped, or suffered injuries. Researchers suggest that more than 50 percent of deaths were preventable if crib bumpers were not around.
A CPSC report shows that there were 23 crib bumper-related infant deaths between 2006 and 2012, which is three times more than the number reported for other similar periods in the last two decades.
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