Why Crib Bumper Pads Are Not Safe… And 4 Alternatives

Crib bumper pads are used to supposedly protect newborns from hitting their head on the crib’s slats and from preventing their arms and legs from getting caught between rails. However, may health organizations advise against using the bumper pads as a measure to protect your baby, because they are dangerous.

Crib Bumper Pads Benefits…

Moreover, the same health agencies claim there is no evidence crib bumper pads can actually prevent injuries. I take this statement with a grain of salt, since I am yet to find a study that compares the number of injuries in babies that sleep in a crib with bumper pads vs a crib with no bumper pads.


If the baby gets stuck in the crib’s slats, he will either try to remove his arm or leg, or make enough noise to get his parent’s attention. Theoretically, there’s no need for bumper pads.

But what about those of us that stay up all night because our baby rolls over too aggressively, hits his head and starts screaming? What about the mom that found her baby with her face planted firmly into the mattress because she got stuck in the rails and couldn’t move?

These are all valid concerns, and there are pros and cons for using bumper pads. And only you, as a parent, can decide whether or not the risk outweighs the benefits.

Why Crib Bumper Pads Are Not Safe

  • There have been 27 deaths related to bumper pads between 1985 and 2005, due to suffocation, strangulation or entrapment. Newborns can suffocate if their face is too close to the non-breathable material of the pad. Also, their head can get stuck between the pad and the mattress. The strings used to secure the pad can untie and cause strangulation. This is enough evidence to deter most parents from using bumper pads.
  • Babies can also use the bumper pads as a means to climb out of the bed, which can cause serious injuries.

Why Some Parents Still Use Crib Pads?

According to some parents, 27 babies that died over a period of 20 years (a little over one death per year) due to crib bumper pads is not a notable statistic. A much higher number of babies die every year from choking with food, drowning or common diseases.
Certain babies are very active at night and end up bumping their head on the rails or getting their limbs stuck. Although most of these incidents are minor and not life threatening, it can result in keeping you and your baby up all night. Failing to find a better solution, parents often resort to bumper pads, even though they are aware they’re not the safest.
Parents also use the crib bumper pads for their aesthetics. Let’s be honest, they can really make the crib look cooler and cozier.
There is no ban on bumper pads therefore a lot of stores sell these, usually without taking the time to educate the parents on the dangers of using them.

At What Age Are Crib Bumper Pads Safe To Use?

Most health officials and parents consider the pads to be unsafe, regardless of age. If your baby is a couple of months old, he can suffocate or strangulate. If he’s bigger, he can use the pads to climb out of bed.

4 Baby Crib Bumper Pads Alternatives

Even though some parents still decide to use the regular crib pads, I believe there are other much safer options that will protect your baby from getting hurt.

1). Vertical Crib Bumper Pads

These Go Mama Go Designs Vertical Crib Bumper Pads are as the name suggests. These are vertical bumper pads that attach to each crib slat, individually. This increases the air flow and drastically reduces (if not completely eliminates) the risk of suffocation.

Also, the slats of any crib should be no more than 2 3/8 apart and covering the slats with the vertical crib bumper pads makes is almost impossible for your baby’s arms or legs to get trapped between the crib’s rails.

crib bumper pads

 

2). Breathable AirFlow Mesh Bumper Pads

These Breathable  AirFlowBaby Mesh Crib Liner Bumper Pads are those pads  made with a thin fine fabric that promotes air flow and reduces the risk of suffocation.

They are generally made a single layer of fabric which offers a free flow of air, greatly reducing any chance of suffocation if your baby gets her head stuck in a corner of the crib by chance.

They work extremely well to keep her arms and legs from getting stuck in between the slats if she wriggles a lot as the no-gap style covers all 4 side of the crib. The extra tall panels are 14 inches high for longer coverage.

They are completely adjustable with ties to fit most standard cribs and are deemed safer than traditional bumpers

However, because of the thin material they are made from, breathable bumper pads do not really protect your baby from bumping their head against the rails of the crib. You can read my review on mesh bumper pads here…

 

best thin bumper pads for crib

 

3).  Baby Sleeping Bags

Baby Sleeping Bags are mostly used to keep a baby warm and comfortable, but they are also a viable option in terms of preventing your little one from getting his limbs stuck in the crib’s slats.

These baby sleeping bags stop babies from kicking off their blankets and preventing potential smothering if the blankets are kicked up over their faces. More importantly, they work very well to keep babies warm all night which in turn encourages deeper and longer sleep.

The bags are designed to leave plenty of kick room for their feet. They are designed to be worn with their regular pajamas underneath and some designs also include swaddling.

You can read my reviews on Baby DeeDee sleeping bags here

baby sleeping bag

 

4). Trend Lab Crib Rail Covers

Trend Lab Crib Rail Covers are a safer alternative if you are concerned about how attractive and cozy your baby crib’s looks like. Sure, regular crib pads may improve the aesthetics, but consider rail covers for your peace of mind.

Many babies love to chew and suck on the edges of their crib for whatever reasons, teething, gum discomfort, not feeling well, boredom or they may even enjoy the taste of the crib rail which is not the healthiest choice for them.

We will never really know the reason why they may do this, however to protect their gums and baby teeth, its better to have a covered crib rail…

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Crib Bumper Pads Conclusion

Crib bumper pads are considered by many parents and health professionals to be unsafe. If your baby does not regularly bump his head against the rails or his limbs don’t get stuck between the crib’s slats, there is no need for any type of pads. However, if your child is very active in his crib, consider using other safer alternatives.

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