Warning…this post about crib bumpers is going to shock you.
I’m going to actually suggest you use them.
You knew that Incredible Infant was a different kind of baby blog, but THIS…?
This is just…
Why do I boldly state what no baby blog has stated before?
Because crib bumpers actually help some babies sleep better.
And by “some babies” I’m referring to two of the three types of sleepers below:
The Lazy Caterpillar
This baby greets you in the morning in the exact same spot you put him to bed on. If this is your baby, reading any further is pointless. Go back to Breaking Bad.
This baby rolls around his crib like he’s practicing for the Pinball Olympics. The constant movements frequently cause him to nail his head against the slats, causing him to wake up screaming.
This baby dreams of joining Cirque du Soleil: twisting, shifting, and sliding her way around the crib, locking her limbs between the slats. (Which, of course, wakes her.)
Sleep vs. Safety?
What is a mom supposed to do if her baby is a headbanging contortionist every night?
Well, the One-Thought-Fits-All parenting experts all shout that “CRIB BUMPERS = BAD PARENT.”
So do you suffer in silence and watch your sleep slowly drip away? Or you do use the bumpers, struggling with guilt and terror every night?
I think you can have your sleep and safety too.
Speaking of safety…please tell me you’ve signed up to get my monthly recall alerts! Cribs and bedding are some of the highest recalled baby products! Sign up for my free monthly updates.
3 Reasons Why
They Say Crib Bumpers are Evil
(And How I Rehabilitate Them)
#1: They May Contribute to SIDS
This is a legitimate concern. No one wants to mess with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
The theory here (and it is a theory, since no one knows the specific cause of SIDS) is that it restricts the fresh air flow, and that perhaps your baby could re-breathe her carbon dioxide and asphyxiate.
My solution here is simple. Use a safety schedule.
How to Rotate Crib Bumpers
Bumpers off: at birth
Bumpers on: Once she can easily flip her head from side to side if something is bother her nose and rolling is achieved skill. (Tickle her nose a little when she’s awake on her back. Does she easily turn her head away?)
Bumpers off: When she starts pulling herself up to a standing position. She could learn to step on the bumper to help her climb out. For my Elena, who rolled like a baby-possessed, I never took them off. (My crib was a fortress, none of my kids ever managed to crawl out of it, bumpers or no.)
#2: The Strings are a Strangulation Hazard
So tie them. TIGHTLY.
Tie a double-triple knot or use the zipper-designed crib bumpers below.
#3: They Can Be an Entrapment Hazard
This is also true. The concern here is that a baby’s head will get stuck between the bumper and the crib mattress and the baby will suffocate.
See this crib bumper style?
This is the perfect photo of a Bumper Gone Bad.
This is not a bumper pad. It is a bumper pillow.
Bumpers like this are, in fact, an entrapment hazard. Your baby’s head could easily get stuck between the massive pouffy pillow and the mattress.
Avoid them. Burn them. Let the dog sleep on them. But do not, under any circumstances, put these big fat caterpillars inside your crib.
Try one of these safer alternatives instead.
Four Crib Bumper Designs
That Make Safety Sense
- Great for headbanger babies
- Plenty of air-flow, reducing SIDS risk
- Don’t help much with contortionists, arms and legs can still slip through
- Long satin ties – tie them with triple knots or dab each knot with super-glue
- Prevents contortionist babies from getting arms and legs caught.
- Allows for great air-flow, reducing SIDS risk
- No chance of entrapment against the mattress
- No string ties
- No protection for nightly headbangers
- Zip up around each slat, so no long ties to worry about
- Air-flow is not an issue
- Entrapment is not an issue
- Great cushion for headbanger babies
Noncommittal Paula Abdul vote:
- Highly trained contortionist babies may still managed to get a leg through. The extra padding reduces (but doesn’t eliminate) the chances of getting a leg stuck.
- Prevents any late night Nirvana headbanging
- Stops midnight sleeping gymnastics
- Thinness makes entrapment unlikely.
- Since it is still a solid wall of padded fabric, use the safety schedule at the top of this post to eliminate risks.
Do You Use Crib Bumpers?
You know what I think?
I think you’re one smart mama and whatever decision you make (to use or not to use) will be the best one for your family.
But I am curious. (of course…)
Do you use the crib bumpers? or did you take them off?
How do you handle heads that go bump in the night?