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Crib Bumpers Responsible for Infant Deaths and Injuries but Still Sold in Stores

December 3, 2015  ·  By HM&M

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Crib bumpers, which have been sold in stores for decades, come in everything from simple, basic designs to patterns that coordinate with entire bedding sets. Unfortunately, these adorable bedding accessories—once thought to safeguard babies—are actually defective products that can be lethal to infants. In fact, researchers recently uncovered dozens of deaths and even more injuries. They are now calling for a nationwide ban.

The Misconception

If you ask most parents why they purchase crib bumpers, they will tell you that it is because protect babies and prevent limb entrapment between the crib bars. The stores that sell them will often recite those exact same benefits. Unfortunately, this is a commonly accepted lie that has been told in an effort to seduce parents into buying a product that is downright dangerous.

The Facts

For years, crib bumpers have been suspected as the cause of crib deaths. Unfortunately, the industry has worked very hard to hide this little-known fact by diverting the issue, saying there is no real “proof” that the products were actually responsible. However, a recent investigation by the University School of Medicine in St. Louis and two former researchers with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission uncovered the truth.

Based on their findings, at least 23 deaths solely attributed to crib bumpers were reported from 2006 through 2012 to the CPSC. Prior to that, there were eight deaths attributed to these popular bedding accessories. However, the organization estimates that these numbers are actually higher because of a lack of reporting and the number of deaths that may have wrongly been attributed to other items in the crib, such as blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals.

In addition to those deaths, researchers uncovered another 146 incidents in which babies were strangled or choked or nearly suffocated because of crib bumpers. Though it was not stated whether or not all of these infants suffered mortality because of the bumpers, the implications are highly disturbing.

The Cover-Up

Crib bumpers are not the only unsafe baby products being sold in the United States. Comforters, which should never be in the crib, are also popular items. Recently, a pillow sleeper has emerged that is entirely too soft of a sleeping surface for babies. Unfortunately, because these products are touted as safe, comfortable, and cute, parents purchase them without knowing all of the facts.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies should sleep on their backs, alone, on a firm surface, and without any other items in the crib. This includes everything from blankets to pillows to bumpers. Sheets should be form-fitted for the mattress, and baby should be dressed in clothing that will not bunch or move with them while they sleep (examples include button and zip-up sleepers or onesies).

The Call for a Ban of Unsafe Products

No parent should ever have to suffer the tragic loss of a child because of an unsafe product. Unfortunately, it does happen, and it will probably continue to happen. But, parents do have buying power. They can get involved in or initiate bans on unsafe products. Parents also have the right to pursue compensation from the companies responsible for the deceptive marketing and sales of unsafe products.

At Hurley, McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we provide compassionate and aggressive representation for victims of corporate negligence and defective products. If you or someone you love has suffered a tragic loss, contact our skilled and experienced attorneys today. Call 312-553-4900 for your free initial consultation today.


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