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“Baby Bumper” Marketing and Safety Concerns

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This morning on the Today Show, Jeff Rossen reported on an important safety concern for all parents and babies. The concern stems from the marketing and product placement of items commonly referred to as “baby bumpers.” These baby bumpers are soft pads that encircle the inside of a crib between the frame and the mattress.

As reported, the Center for Disease Control has recently come out with a new study that indicates that such products are hazardous to the safety of your children. You can view the CDC’s website New Infant Safe Sleep Recommendations at this link. Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recently issued a Policy Statement entitled “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment.” This Statement specifically states:

4. Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.
a. Soft objects, such as pillows and pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, and sheepskins, should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment.
b. Loose bedding, such as blankets and sheets, might be hazardous and should not be used in the infant’s sleeping environment.
c. Because there is no evidence that bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides prevent injury in young infants and because there is the potential for suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation, these products are not recommended.
d. Infant sleep clothing that is designed to keep the infant warm without the possible hazard of head covering or entrapment can be used.

Despite the CDC report and the AAP’s Policy Statement, Lisa Woody, a spokeswoman for Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, was interviewed by Mr. Rossen and cast the blame upon parents in stating that “No Juvenile Products will ever be a substitution for parenting and parents know this and they are smart.” When asked “Why make crib bumpers,” Ms. Woody stated, “Parents are truly the experts of their child.”

Yes, there is some truth to Ms. Woody’s statement; however, Mr. Rossen’s report goes on to indicate that the marketing of these products neutralizes and trumps the parents’ say in the safety of their children. This undercover report specifically documents store clerks upselling these crib bumpers and recommending their use to parents seeking advice.

While some stores have evidently made strides to correct their marketing of these devices, it does not change the fact that these products are in the market despite their propensity to cause injury, harm, and death to our children. What should be taken from Mr. Rossen’s report is that a baby’s crib should be unencumbered by soft pillows and decorations that may be aesthetically pleasing but ultimately hazardous and that when shopping for your infant, be sure to research the products fully because some companies simply believe that that is your job and not theirs.

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