May 22, 2019
Dear Members of the New York State Senate and Assembly,
Crib bumper pads are an unnecessary decorative item for cribs that offer no protection from serious injury. No research shows that crib bumper pads serve an injury prevention purpose, yet data does show that they have been linked to dozens of infant injuries and deaths as a result of suffocation and strangulation.1 Bumpers both create a risk of mechanical suffocation and reduce the airflow in the crib, increasing the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).2 Crib bumpers were responsible for at least 48 infant deaths from 1985 to 2012.3 Child care regulations already warn against the use of crib bumper pads in New York child care facilities because of the suffocation risk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) attributes increased risk of suffocation and SUID to soft bedding used in cribs, and due to mandatory standards that reduce the space between crib slats, AAP states that crib bumpers are not necessary to prevent head entrapment.4 Crib bumpers can also put babies at risk of entrapment.5 While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has acknowledged the dangers of bumpers by recommending that parents and caregivers stop using padded bumpers, the CPSC stopped short of enacting a nationwide ban.6
These statistics and reports of fatalities have prompted state and local governments in places like Maryland, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois, to ban the use of crib bumper pads. Most major retailers have stopped selling padded bumper pads. Still, crib bumper pads are available for sale online and at some outlets in states like New York, where many infants remain at risk for suffocation and strangulation.
New York should be proactive and follow Maryland, Ohio, and Chicago to enact a ban on crib bumper pads. Babies sleep safest in a bare crib, bassinet, or play yard on their backs.7 Bumper pads should be removed from the sleep space to prevent the risk of suffocation or SUID. These firm sleep surfaces are the only places that babies are intended to spend time unattended, and our organizations want to eliminate all dangerous products from infants’ sleep space, beginning withpadded crib bumper pads. While the current New York State bills would only ban padded crib bumper pads, our organizations recommend parents avoid all crib bumper pads, including mesh liners.
We strongly urge you to vote in favor of S.3788-A / A.217-A. If you have any questions about the bills or would like more information, please contact any of the organizations below.
Nancy Cowles, Executive Director
Kids In Danger | 312-595-0649
Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel
Consumer Federation of America | 202-939-1012
William Wallace, Manager, Home and Safety Policy
Consumer Reports | 202-462-6262