Chicago Bans Sale of Crib Bumper Pads

In an effort to increase the safety of sleeping babies, Chicago has passed a ban on the sale of crib bumper pads. Bumper pads are currently a popularly sold item across the country, sold both individually and within bedding sets for cribs.

With an estimated 27 bumper pad infant deaths from 1985 to 2005, the Chicago City Council decided that the introduction and passing of the ordinance is meant to “send a message to federal regulators and other municipalities that bumper pads are not safe,” reports the Chicago Tribune. Officials decided that if they waited for federal regulators to make a decision on the matter, there was a high possibility it would never get done.

After the ordinance was passed, the state of Maryland is considering a similar proposal also aimed at preventing the sale of bumper pads. The Chicago ordinance will not go into effect until 2012, but stores like Target and Babies ‘R’ Us have already stated they will adhere to the ban and have begun removing the products from their shelves and order lists. Despite this, a nationwide ban could leave retailers struggling to keep up with the changes — a fact that could be distressing considering Chicago plans to charge stores up to $500 in fines if they carry the crib bumpers past the removal deadline.

SIDS awareness organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Children’s Product Safety Groups such as Kids in Danger are relieved to finally see bans like this one passed. They have continually urged parents to learn about SIDS and other ways children can die in their sleep, with bumper pads being at the top of the list since the ban of drop-side cribs.

Reported in the Huffington Post, Bradley Thach, a professor of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says “It’s been shown a number of times that a baby’s face can get pressed up against the bumper or the baby can get wedged between the bumper and the mattress, both of which cause suffocation.”

In agreement, Michael Goodstein, a neonatologist and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ task force on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), agrees and has other concerns as well. “There can also be a rebreathing of carbon dioxide if a baby is pressed against something that doesn’t allow you to get fresh air,” Goodstein said.

For parents who are concerned with the issues that made bumper pads popular, such as limbs getting stuck between crib bars, there is an alternative. The BreathableBaby bumper, created by the Waters family, sports a mesh design that promotes air flow into and out of the crib, much like the designs of the bassinet-style play yards. It’s unclear at this time if the Chicago ban will include these mesh bumpers or not.

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