If your baby regularly wakes you up at night with their legs stuck in between the crib slats or with their headbanging onto the rail, crib bumpers can be an effective solution.
However, there is a considerable caution with crib bumpers that any parent should understand. Scroll down to learn how to put crib bumpers on as well as knowing their safety guidelines.
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What are crib bumpers?
Most cribs nowadays are designed with slats that are close to each other, but it is not the case in the past. Old version cribs usually have huge gaps between their slats and thus can cause injuries if your baby’s legs are stuck in those cribs.
These days, crib bumpers are made with lined around all the edges of the crib, creating a thick layer of soft pads in order to protect your baby from hitting his head to the wooden crib surface.
Avoid using traditional crib bumpers
Crib bumpers are soft, simple, and seemingly harmless, but they actually pose a great threat to SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome) according to American Pediatric Association.
Statistics from 1990 to 2016 have shown a horrific number of 107 deadly and 282 non-deadly accidents that were caused directly by crib bumpers. This number was even tripled in recent research from 2008 to 2012.
Crib bumpers pose a huge risk of suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation in young infants and thus should not be used inside cribs. There are 3 main reasons for this, according to Dr. Edward Kulich – a board-certified pediatrician:
First, crib bumpers aren’t necessary for infants under 4 months old because, at this age, they don’t move too much around the crib and can’t create enough force to get injured.
Second, for babies from 4 to 9 months of age, there is a considerably higher chance for them to roll into the crib bumper and get suffocated. Babies can also get trapped in between bumpers and mattresses during sleep and if they can’t change posture to free their airflow, fatal incidents are destined.
Third, during the age of 9 to 10 months, many infants can utilize the crib bumpers to climb their crib and face the danger of falling over.
Therefore, comparing the little benefits that traditional crib bumpers can provide with the deadly threat they present, pediatricians and also experienced mothers everywhere still insist on not using them inside the crib to avoid unwanted accidents for your baby.
Breathable bumpers are a safer choice
So, in brief, the question is still “are any crib bumpers safe?”
Being fully aware of the danger of old-day crib bumpers, many manufacturers have come up with better designs of crib bumpers that can function the same but are safer to be used in cribs. The most common product that can replace traditional bumpers is mesh crib bumpers.
These are thin layers of mesh, compared to thick cotton pads in the old days, and are made of breathable materials, so that even if they babyfaces the bumpers, the chance of them getting choked is greatly minimized.
Besides, breathable bumpers like mesh bumpers can reduce the risk of entrapment against the crib mattress. They usually come with no string either, which can prevent entanglement, too.
Mesh liner will definitely be a safer solution compared to crib bumpers if you have a baby that likes to wiggle around and can usually get his legs stuck in between the slats. But it may not be as effective for babies who love to bang their heads against the crib because it only can provide a thin cover from the wooden slats.
Another solution to consider for the case of a headbanger is vertical crib bumpers. They are soft sleeves that cover each slat and therefore can protect the baby’s head from hitting the hard wooden sides of the crib. More importantly, they are safer than traditional bumpers.
How to put crib bumpers on?
Depending on the shapes, types of fabric, and patterns of all different bumpers, the installing process can vary greatly. The number one outcome we want here is to have tightly fitted bumpers.
Following are the guiding steps for you on how to install mesh crib bumpers.
Step 1: Access the crib
Considering the huge variety of cribs design available in the market today, together with the bumpers, it is never wasted to get to understand your crib before putting the bumpers on.
Give close attention to the sizes, shapes of the parts, and construction of your crib, so that you will know how the bumpers kit can be fitted in. The crib instruction may also help, too.
Step 2: Examine the kit
It should be easy for you to find bumpers that can match the style of the current bedding you are having in your crib. More importantly, make sure to choose a non-allergenic fabric so that it won’t cause any discomfort for your baby.
When opening the bumper kit, check if the package has a full set of cords and panels listed in the attached instructions.
Step 3: Fit bumper
A standard bumper kit for a typical four-sided crib will have one long panel that goes to the back of the crib and one short panel that goes to the front rail. Remember to face all the ties outside of the crib.
Starting with the long panel, there might be a different number of cords that the panel has, but try to find the middle one to the middle slat of the back rail, then move on until you finish layering the back rail of the crib.
Once you almost get to the end of the back rail, weave the panel to the second last slat then back to the same one of the side rail.
At the end of this process, you should be able to expose the two-second last slats of the two rails and hide the corner of the crib. Pull and secure the end of the panel to the side rail.
Repeat with the other side.
The short panel of the bumper is installed onto the front rail of your crib with the same principle – starting with the middle ties on the middle slat, then moving until you cover the entire rail.
Step 4: Tucking in the mattress
Once you have fully lined the bumper onto all the rails, to tuck it against the side of the mattress, it is much easier to just take the mattress out, slide the bumper down as low as you want, then put the mattress back in.
The bottom edges of the bumper should be lower than the surface of the mattress so that your baby can’t get his legs stuck in the slat gap.
Keeping our baby safe and healthy is surely a parent’s top priority. We hope the above information has helped you not only on how to put baby bumpers on crib but also the safety understanding with any crib bumper. As always, happy parenting!