A story just out of the US should be having Australian authorities — and parents — sitting up and taking note and it concerns the safety of cot bumpers.
Cot bumpers linked to suffocation
Most parents will be aware that cot bumpers fly in the face of all safe sleeping guidelines, but they’re still popping up in those ‘nursery inspo’ photos and are still available to be purchased by unsuspecting newbie mums and dads.
The Washington Post says that dozens of infant deaths have been linked to bumpers over the last 3 decades, but that in the US infighting between and within safety organisations has prevented them from being banned.
“While deaths from bumpers are relatively rare — ranging from just 27 deaths over two decades to as many as 62 deaths in 11 years, reflecting different data sets and the challenge of tracking cases — the deaths are entirely preventable, experts say,” The Washington Post reported over the weekend.
While some people in organisations such as the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) maintain that the bumpers are not a safety risk, other public health experts insist they most definitely are.
The American Academy of Pediatrics began warning against using all crib bumpers in 2011.
Parents are sometimes keen to use these cot bumpers to prevent babies’ arms or legs becoming stuck between the slats in the sides of the cot. But safe-sleeping advocates point out that that eventuality will merely be uncomfortable for a baby. Being trapped against a cot bumper and unable to breathe can be fatal.
The local story
In Australia, cot bumpers are still perfectly legal and are available at outlets such as Baby Bunting, Pottery Barn Kids, OzSale, Temple and Webster, eBay … and many more.
We checked out the online stores of high profile retailers Kmart and BigW and they are not selling cot bumpers, which is brilliant.
Target is selling something similar called an AirWrap which claims to allow airflow via its mesh fabric, but Red Nose advises, “There have been some concerns expressed about the use of mesh bumpers, especially if they are not fitted correctly.”
Not worth the risk
Red Nose is committed to reducing the 3,200 ANNUAL sudden and unexpected baby and child deaths in Australia. They have very clear safe sleeping guidelines on their website.
“Do not use a pillow, cot bumper, lamb’s wool, soft toy or doona in the cot day or night.”
Consumer advocate CHOICE also advises against the use of cot bumpers (and many other unsafe nursery products).
“A pretty cot with all the trimmings looks great in the pictures – but frills, bumpers, doonas, pillows and quilts all put babies at risk of suffocation. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) research indicates the safest cot for a baby has a firm mattress, a securely fitted sheet and blanket, and nothing else,” CHOICE reminds parents and carers.
Cot bumpers are best left OFF your nursery wishlist.