New AAP guidelines state bumpers should not be used
Jane Kitchen -- Kids Today, 11/1/2011 2:00:00 AM
Boston - The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new guidelines on safe sleep for babies at its National Conference & Exhibition here last month that included a recommendation against crib bumpers.
The report states: "Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment."
The guidelines, last revised in 2005, have been expanded beyond SIDS risk reduction to include all sleep-related infant deaths, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, which have increased in recent years.
Since the AAP first recommended babies be placed on their backs to sleep in 1992, deaths from SIDS have declined dramatically.
"We have tried to make it easier for parents and providers to understand the recommendations by providing specific answers to common questions," said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP SIDS task force and lead author of the new guidelines. "As a health care community, we need to do a better job translating what the research identifies as ‘best practices' into the day-to-day practice of caring for infants in both the hospital and home environment."
The policy statement, "SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment," and an accompanying technical report were released last month at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Boston and published in the November issue of Pediatrics.
The report comes on the heels of a move by the city of Chicago to ban the sale of bumpers, and a similar rule being considered by the state of Maryland.
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Assn. maintains that when used according to manufacturers' instructions, properly designed crib bumper pads can help prevent limb entrapment and head injuries. A March, 2011 study by Innovative Science Solutions performed for JPMA revealed no direct relationship between crib bumper pad use and infant death.
The JPMA issued a statement saying that it "is disappointed that the AAP failed to review the JPMA commissioned research prior to making today's announcement, and is encouraging the AAP task force leaders on crib bumper pads to evaluate this data and reevaluate their recommendation."
"Our fear is that the recommended elimination of bumpers from the marketplace will lead to unintended consequences and may encourage parents to use towels, adult blankets or pillows as a protective barrier from the hard wooden surface of the crib slats," said Michael Dwyer, executive director of JPMA. "In an ongoing effort to create the safest products, crib bumper pad manufacturers have taken the lead in discussions to further enhance the existing ASTM voluntary standard for infant bedding, including crib bumper pads. JPMA member bedding manufacturers will continue to innovate and introduce new products to the marketplace, in addition to continue offering traditional crib bumper pads, providing parents and caregivers with a range of choices and safe sleep options for their family."
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