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Ban The Bumpers–Once and For All

9 Feb

Although the use of crib bumpers has long been a hotly debated topic amongst parents and safety groups, their use remains widely accepted and legal throughout most of the country. As safety experts and parents ourselves, we are constantly frustrated to see parents choose the best in safety gear and the safest crib available, yet bolster that crib with bulky and dangerous bumpers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now reiterating it’s guidelines for the use of crib bumpers in hopes that parents will finally heed the warning. The following is part of an article published in the February 2012 issue of Parenting magazine.

Bumper pads should never be used in cribs, according to guidelines released by the AAP. There’s no evidence the bumpers protect against injury, but they do carry a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment because infants lack the motor skills and strength to turn their heads away from the bumpers. Here’s the scoop on the new policy:

Q: Why are bumpers suddenly off-limits?

A: Reports in the Chicago Tribune from late 2010 and early 2011 allege that federal regulators knew for years that crib bumpers posed a suffocation hazard but had failed to warn parents of the danger. Chicago recently became the first U.S. city to ban the sale of crib bumpers, and Maryland has also proposed a ban. “We conclude that if there’s no reason for them to be in the crib, it’s better to get them out of there, in light of the reported deaths associated with the bumper pads,” says Rachel Moon, M.D., chair of the AAP’s sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) task force and lead author of the guidelines.

Q: Are bumper alternatives safe?

A: The AAP also wants to warn against bumper alternatives, including those made of breathable mesh. “As of now, we’re recommending nothing in the crib,” Dr. Moon says.

Q: Why do parents opt for bumpers in the first place?

A: They make the crib look cute, and many parents mistakenly believe bumpers prevent a baby from hitting his head on the crib or getting his limbs stuck in slats. But Dr. Moon says young babies simply don’t have the strength to fling themselves against the crib hard enough to hurt themselves. And safety experts have long recommended that crib bumpers be removed when babies become strong enough to pull themselves up and could potentially use the bumpers to climb out.

New Crib Safety Standards in Effect

9 Jul

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enacted new mandatory crib standards, establishing the most stringent crib safety standards in the world. The new standards come as a result of recalls of more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007 and a lack of crib safety standard revision in over 30 years.

According to the CPSC, Some of the new mandatory rules for cribs include: (1) stopping the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) strengthening mattress supports and crib slats; (3) requiring crib hardware to be more durable; and (4) making safety testing more rigorous.
“A safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. It is for this reason that I am so pleased that parents, grandparents and caregivers now can shop with confidence and purchase cribs that meet the most stringent crib standards in the world,” said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “From the start, our goal has been to prevent deaths and injuries to babies in cribs, and now the day has come where only stronger and safer cribs are available for consumers to purchase.”
CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective crib hardware. The new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safer in their cribs.
Starting on December 28, 2012, child care facilities, including family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, as well as places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, and rental companies must use only cribs that comply with the new crib standards.

The recall has left some parents and caregivers unsure of the safety of their existing cribs and the steps they should take to ensure the safety of their children. Here are a few important points:

  • Most cribs purchased before June 28, 2011 will not meet the new safety standards. If you feel the need to replace an older crib, check with the manufacturer or retailer to be sure the crib meets all new CPSC standards.
  • The new rules also apply to cribs currently in use at child care centers and places of public accommodation. By December 28, 2012, these facilities must use only compliant cribs that meet the new federal safety standards.
  • If you continue to use your current crib, you are encouraged to check the crib frequently to make sure that all hardware is secured tightly and that there are no loose, missing, or broken parts.
  • A consumer should not resell, donate or give away a crib that does not meet the new crib standards, such as trying to resell the product through an online auction site or donating to a local thrift store. CPSC recommends disassembling the crib before discarding it.
  • If your crib has a drop-side rail, stop using that drop-side function. If the crib has been recalled, request a free immobilizer from the manufacturer or retailer (particular immobilizer will vary depending on the crib).

Babies spend much of their time sleeping; therefore, the nursery should be the safest room in the house. Check to see if your crib has been recalled.

With any crib, bassinet or play yard, following a few simple rules will keep babies sleeping safely and will give parents a better night’s sleep:

  • To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in a baby’s sleep environment. Also, make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
  • Proper assembly of cribs is paramount – Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for assistance.
  • Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.
  • Set up play yards properly according to manufacturers’ directions. Only use the mattress pad provided with the play yard; do not add extra padding.
  • Never place a crib near a window with blind, curtain cords or baby monitor cords; babies can strangle on cords.

For more information on the new crib safety standards, crib recalls and general crib safety, visit the CPSC Crib Information Center.

Product Safety Recalls should not be ignored

30 Sep

Today, Fisher-Price is recalling more than 10 million children’s products sold in the United States.

This recall includes some toddler tricycles, infant activity centers, toy cars, and many models of Fisher Price high-chairs.

Although some recalls occur not as a result of actual injury to any user, but as a preventative recall issued by the manufacturer or suggested by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), most recalls occur as a direct result of injury or even death due to use of the product.

The CPSC, along with the Food and Drug Administration also issued a warning today, urging consumers to stop using infant sleep positioners. According to the CPSC website, ‘over the past 13 years, CPSC and the FDA have received 12 reports of infants between the ages of 1 month and 4 four months who died when they suffocated in sleep positioners or became trapped and suffocated between a sleep positioner and the side of a crib or bassinet.’

So, with what seems to be a revolving list of recalls on infant and children’s items, how can a parent know if the products they’re using are safe? Here’s a few quick tips to help keep your home free of recalled products.

1. Keep appraised of current product recalls. The best resource for this is the Consumer Products Safety Commission website, where you can view current recalls, find links to manufacturers, and even sign up for recall updates by email.

2.Remove recalled products from your home or discontinue use until approved repair kit is installed. If you find a product that you own on a recall list, stop using it immediately until you can install a ‘repair kit’ provided by the manufacturer. If this is not an option, remove the item from your home. DO NOT donate the item to charity or give it to another person for use.

3.If you purchase or are given used children’s products, check to be sure these products are safe and have not been recalled. If you choose to install a used carseat, always know where the seat has been and how it has been used. NEVER use a carseat that has been recalled, involved in an accident or is otherwise damaged.

For more car seat safety information visit Healthy Children.