A study in the journal Pediatrics this week finds that nearly 10,000 children under two are seriously injured every year in cribs, bassinets, and playpens. The 19-year study found that cribs accounted for 83 percent of the injuries and that falls were responsible for two-thirds of the incidents.
One in five injuries was a head injury such as a concussion that did not break the skin. The injuries were enough to send 26 kids to the ER every day and cause 110 deaths a year.
Baby products have come under closer scrutiny in the last few years. For example, the FDA recently recommended that parents stop using sleep positioners due to suffocation risk. And in December of last year the Consumer Products Safety Commission set new safety standards for cribs (the first new crib standards to be set in two decades) — those go into effect later this year, getting rid of drop-sided cribs, for example.
According to a separate New York Times article on crib safety this week, since 2007 more than 10 million cribs have been recalled.
So why all the crib and bassinet injuries? And what, if anything, can we do to keep our kids safe?
Surprisingly, only 5.5 percent of the injuries happened because a child was stuck between the crib bars (although those were the most likely to cause a fatality).
More than 60 percent of the injuries were from falls that caused head and neck damage. The researchers make the following recommendations:
- Make sure your crib is up to current standards (but since these haven’t been updated in 2 decades, how are we supposed to do this?)
- Do not use a drop-sided crib, one that has been previously used or is broken in any way
- Don’t assume your child is safe in a crib or bassinet alone
My thoughts are that when kids start learning how to climb out, you should immediately either switch to a toddler bed or get the crib tent (that secures them inside), since the majority of the injuries were from falling. Also make sure there are no bumpers or pillows in the crib that babies can use to launch themselves up and over the rails.
What do you think about crib safety? Does it worry you and what are the best safety practices?