No More Crib Bumper Pads, Doctors Say

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When my daughter turned five months old, she started rolling over in her sleep. Like clockwork, every morning starting at 3am, she would roll and get her arm or leg wedged between the bars of the crib and wake up screaming. I’d roll out of bed, unwedge her chubby appendages, which just made her more mad, and rock her back to sleep.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Until I gave up. Got her up for the morning and began mainlining coffee.

It seemed like she was hell bent on self-destruction: hers and mine. And it occurred to me that this is what parenting a teenager must be like. At first, I thought she’d grow out of this phase. But as the weeks rolled on, she continued to roll over and stick her arms and legs through the slats and wake up angry. So, I bought a mesh bumper for the crib.

I didn’t want to buy a bumper. I had heard the SIDS warnings and was worried about her smothering herself. I only bought a breathable bumper, because I was assured by friends that the bumper was a “safer” alternative.

However a new announcement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has me rethinking my decision. Recently, the AAP released new guidelines for infant cribs. These guidelines include a zero-tolerance policy toward crib bumpers because of the suffocation risk. Previously, the AAP only warned against pillow-like bumpers. Now, the warning includes all bumpers all the time.

Despite the warning, many parents will continue using bumpers, breathable or not. I know parents who swear by bumpers and adopt the “it didn’t kill our child, it won’t kill yours” attitude, but why take the chance? All too often, I’ve woken up to find my daughter on her side, with her face pressed up against the bumper.

Before the warning from the AAP, this was enough for me to consider removing the bumper. And this recent announcement means that tonight my baby will be sleeping bumperless and this mom will not be getting any sleep. But that’s okay. I want my baby to cry at night if it means she’s still safe.

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