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Crib Bumper Safety

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Crib Bumper Safety

Illinois AG Office Questions Crib Bumper Safety

Questions about crib bumper safety have resurfaced recently, partially in response to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune’s investigation asserts that “Federal regulators have known for years that bumper pads could pose a suffocation hazard but have failed to warn parents.”

In response, the Illinois attorney general’s office is “warning parents not to use crib bumper pads in nurseries because they pose suffocation and strangulation hazards for babies,” according to Chicago Breaking News Center.

The report goes on to say that “the agency is also pressing the trade group that represents product manufacturers to take ‘immediate and substantial action’ to address hazards of the products and to release a study on bumper pad safety that the group commissioned.”

There has been speculation for several years over whether crib bumpers are safe, and it appears that there is overwhelming evidence that they are not. According to the New York Times, Dr. Bradley Thach, a professor of pediatrics at Washington University, published findings three years ago to this effect.

The New York Times article states: “In reviewing data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission, Dr. Thach concluded that crib bumpers — the padding wrapped around the inside of a crib that often matches the bedding—were killing babies. In a 10-year period beginning in 1995, he found 27 suffocation deaths involving bumper pads, and he theorized that many more might have occurred because of inconsistencies in the data.

“Because bumpers can cause death, we conclude that they should not be used,” he warned.

Unfortunately for many parents, the Consumer Products Safety Commission ignored Dr. Thach’s findings and his conclusion. Subsequently, many consumers purchased crib bumpers with no idea of the potential hazards. A personal injury lawyer in Chicago will tell you that this is not the only time a safety conclusion has been ignored when it is not in the best interest of a group of large companies (i.e. bedding manufacturers).

Luckily for parents, consumer advocates and news outlets like the Chicago Tribune successfully highlighted the concerns about crib bumper safety and the safety of other baby sleep products. As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission agreed late last year to reassess crib bumper safety and determine whether crib bumpers are safe. According to the Tribune, “that includes reopening files on babies’ deaths, evaluating the safety of bumper pads on store shelves and rethinking how investigators examine deaths where bumper pads are present.”

The Tribune reports cites that “the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in a span of 25 years, has received 52 reports of infant deaths in which bumper pads were mentioned but not necessarily ruled as the cause, according to a report released in July. The agency said 28 of those deaths had been associated with bumper pads, meaning the product played some role in the death.”

There are likely many more instances of infant death due to lack of crib bumper safety, but many of them may have been attributed to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), the cause of which is unknown.

If you or a loved one is using a crib bumper in a child’s crib, you should remove it immediately. Additionally, if your child has been injured by a crib bumper or other sleep aid, you may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer in Chicago.

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