Dr. NJ Scheers
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
N.J. Scheers, PhD
Former manager of CPSC’s Infant Suffocation Project
BDS Data Analytics, Alexandria, VA
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Scheers: There are no federal regulations for crib bumpers. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Pediatric Society, the National Institutes of Health, and others have long recommended against crib bumper use. Crib bumper manufacturers have a long-standing voluntary safety standard aimed at making crib bumpers safe. Neither of these approaches has worked to prevent deaths from bumpers.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Scheers: Using data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the research identified 48 deaths from crib bumpers from 1985-2012. Reports of the deaths increased significantly and were three times higher from 2006 through 2012 than in previous years.
In most of the deaths, the crib bumpers were the only source of suffocation, rebutting beliefs that other items in the cribs (comforters, pillows, blankets) caused the deaths. In other deaths, wedging occurred between the bumper and other objects such as pillows and infant recliners. All of these deaths would have been preventable if crib bumpers had not been in the cribs.
The study linked more deaths to crib bumpers than the 48 indicated in the CPSC data. A review of data from the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths reveals reports of 32 bumper-related deaths from 37 states from 2008-2011. That puts the number of fatalities tied to crib bumpers at 77 and suggests the actual number is much higher.
The study identified 146 injuries from 1990-2012. Eleven were “near-misses” in which the babies were rescued before they died. These were near-suffocations, chokings, strangulations, and falls from infants using bumpers to climb out of the cribs. There were reports of poor bumper design, such as a lack of bottom bumper ties, or construction problems, such as bumper ties and decoration that detached.
Parents often buy bumpers to prevent slat entrapments or to prevent infants bumping their heads in the cribs. This is the first study to show that these events occurred even with a bumper present.