18 Nov 2016
CPSC Urges Consumers Not to Use Padded Crib Bumpers
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement on 3 November strongly urging parents and caregivers not to use padded crib bumpers because those products pose a clear risk of injury or death to children. Rather than moving forward with a proposal to establish mandatory safety standards for these products, CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye and Commissioners Robert Adler, Marietta Robinson and Joseph Mohorovic decided to issue a joint statement to assist consumers in evaluating the comparative safety of padded crib bumpers, consistent with the CPSC’s authority under the Consumer Product Safety Act. The commissioners determined that issuing a strong warning would be more effective than pursuing a standard that may ultimately prove unable to address the inherent safety hazards posed by padded crib bumpers.
Crib bumpers are infant bedding accessories intended to line the sides of an infant’s crib. Padded crib bumpers are commonly made of fabric and fibre fill or foam panels that are intended to be tied to the crib slats and corner posts. Other types of crib bumpers have been marketed as barriers to prevent limb entrapment, such as mesh crib liners, as well as slat covers that wrap around individual crib slats.
ASTM F1917-12 (Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Infant Bedding and Related Accessories), the voluntary standard that currently covers crib bumpers among other infant bedding products, requires bumpers that the made of fabric and filled with fibrous material to pass a test that entails dropping the bumper through a “bumper thickness test fixture” that is a two-inch wide slot. This requirement limits the thickness of a padded crib bumper to approximately two inches or thinner. The CPSC notes that it is unclear whether this test method has been validated as a means to mitigate the risk of injury associated with these products, however. The voluntary standard also requires warning labels that address a risk of suffocation, sagging, strangulation on ties and removal of the bumper when a child can sit up unaided or can pull to a standing position.
While some caregivers may think that padded crib bumpers assist in protecting against head injury or limb entrapment, the joint statement warns that the risk of death from these products far outweighs any purported benefits. The commissioners believe that the best practice for a safe sleeping environment for children is a properly assembled crib with only an appropriately sized mattress and a snugly fitted sheet. According to the statement, parents should avoid placing soft bedding or other padded objects such as padded bumpers, pillows, sleep positioners, stuffed animals or cushions in a child’s crib, bassinet or play yard.