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Chicago Bans Sale of Crib Bumpers

Live in Chicago? Better ditch the bumper!

Back when I was first starting to think about decorating and planning our nursery, I wrote a piece asking if I should consider using a crib bumper or not.  I was amazed by both the amount of and range of responses I heard.  While some moms followed the “my mom used crib bumpers and we all turned out okay” logic, others felt passionately that bumpers were a huge health hazard and posed a dangerous risk of suffocation and infant death.

Turns out that those risks that many moms worried about did not go unnoticed by the city of Chicago.  Last Thursday, Chicago’s City Council approved an ordinance to ban the sale of crib bumper pads in the city.

Council members sited the following as reasons for banning the bedding…

“If we can help save a baby’s life, it’s so important,” Balcer said. “If you listen to the testimony, there are folks who have lost their newborn children. … We as a city council have to take that responsibility, and if it’s endangering the lives of constituents, you have to do something.”

Balcer said it’s the job of the Council as a legislative body to protect people, but some members criticized the proposed ordinance, saying it’s the parents’ job to choose what’s right for their children.

“We still have a responsibility at the end of the day,” Cardenas said. “We’re not regulators, but we feel it’s our responsibility to let parents know that it’s an issue, and in the city, we’re going to take action.”

Some moms feel that bumpers are necessary as a way to protect infants from bumping heads or getting limbs caught between crib slats.  But Nancy Cowles, the executive director of Chicago-based Kids in Danger, stated

Bumpers were first offered as a way to keep babies’ arms and legs in the crib before regulations required crib slats to be narrow enough to prevent babies’ bodies from falling through, Cowles said. Today, she said, they’re an unnecessary item mainly bought for decoration.

I decided long ago that the risk of infant suffocation was not something I was interested in bringing into my nursery, no matter how cute the pattern or “complete” the bedding set would look.  But is banning the sale of crib bumpers infringing on a parent’s right to make decisions for their own child?

What do you you think?  Where do you stand on crib bumpers?

 

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