Do You Need Bumpers In Your Baby's Crib?

As the baby catalogues start rolling in, you're sure to find some super cute furniture and accessories to make your baby's room look worthy of its own Pinterest board. But as you're deciding what to buy, make sure to keep in mind items you can do without. Aside from the fact that babies don't need all that much stuff, some of the decor marketed to parents is not safe for little ones — especially what goes inside the crib. You've heard that pillows, blankets, and stuffies are a no-no, but what about the coordinating bumper pad? Do you need bumpers in your baby's crib, or should you pass?

With every store, online site, and baby boutique displaying it in bedding sets, consumers are led to believe bumpers serve a purpose in the crib. In the beginning, bumper pads were created with a little one's safety in mind, the thought being the soft padding would protect a baby's head, should she bump into the side rails of her crib. But as the website for CNN pointed out, infants don't have the strength to cause a significant injury should they bump their head on their crib. The worst that can happen is a small bruise or bump. Which is minor in comparison to the risks bumpers pose.

Over time, this popular crib fixture has proven to be quite the opposite of safe. According to Healthy Children, the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics, "there is no evidence that bumper pads can prevent serious injuries, and they pose a risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment." These potential harmful outcomes were grimly confirmed by a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, which discovered bumpers were the cause of accidental deaths and nonfatal injuries for babies. But what exactly is happening?

One of the study's authors, N.J. Sheers, told NPR, "babies either got their face caught in the bumper and couldn't breathe or they got wedged between the bumper and something else in the crib." A horrible scene for any parent to imagine. And easily preventable.

As for bumper alternatives, don't bother. When it comes to cribs, less is best. Breathable, mesh bumpers are not recommended for cribs, according to Parenting magazine's website. If you're worried about your baby's sweet little arms and legs getting stuck between the crib slats, try putting your baby in a sleep sack, as Baby Center suggested. Knowing your baby's sleep environment is as safe as it can be, will help you rest better each night.