This is such a common question, but the crib bumper usage is confusing, as we are told NOT to use them but they are still available for purchase.
Hmm, so what does one do?
Let's start by looking at, WHAT a crib bumper is;
Originally, they were made of cotton and stuffed to create a padding around the edge of the crib, they have ties to secure them so that they can not be pulled off and on top of or around a baby.
Due to common day anxiety around sleeping safety, a more common option is a mesh bumper, HOWEVER, it barely gives any protection against the head of an infant, as it has zero padding which is what the original bumper was all about.
The mesh one is about a useful as a chocolate teapot when it comes to protection. If you were only investing in it to stop your baby getting a limb stuck - give yourself a pat on the back, but if you are trying to prevent your baby hurting themselves or waking themselves up over night, then it would be money down the drain.
If you still feel torn and don't want to use anything around the crib, a sleep sac is an alternative option to avoid limbs getting stuck.
Let's looks at, WHY would I use a crib bumper one?
Protection from the crib slats in general
Protecting the head
Stopping arms and limbs getting stuck between slats
Feeling of coziness
Increased risk of SIDS (apparently), I not 100% convinced that they are THAT risky, I think going out in the car is more risky (personal opinion) but also backed up in the statistics below.
From 1983 to 2012 (a span of 29 years), bumpers MAY* have been involved in 77 deaths, according to a study in the journal Paediatrics. So now the AAP recommends not using any crib bumper, even the ones made of breathable mesh. ... “The safest crib bedding for your infant is a sheet only. No bumpers, no blankets" they say.....
*the May is interesting, I guess they don't actually know they are just thinking its a possibility.
However, what is FACT is this:
The most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, and the most common cause of unintentional injury is car accidents. Between 2010 and 2014 (ONLY 4 YEARS), 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide — an average of 11 children a week.
WOW, and I'm sure you don't question putting your child in the car to get to swim class or music class at all? OR to drive around so that they can sleep?
WHEN would I use one?
They are NOT needed for a newborn, in a crib - infact most small babies are put into bassinets which have both mesh sides and sometimes covered sides.
Super small babies are not really going to travel too far anyway. BUT!!!!! give it a few months and your little baby will be moving about and getting themselves in all sorts of trouble.
As soon as you are ready to move your baby into their own space and they can move about and get pushed up against the slats, they are fine to have crib bumpers around their crib.
In some cases, older children will bang their had or rock against the bars (and although this can look scary), they are very often finding this motion comforting.
If the thought of using bumpers does scare you - an alternative option would be to have your child sleep in a pack n play, it has mesh sides which is in essence a built in mesh bumper, and no slats so if you are really struggling due to having a little mover and groover on your hands. However, if you listen to the advice of the APP, it sounds like they would rule this out too.
IMO the answer to this questions is YES, provided you attach them safety yo the crib, and you are confident in your decision to use them. If you listened to every bit of advice of what to do and not to do you would literally go around in circles.
Everything you do is risky - including putting one foot in front of the other, but some risks outweigh others.
Have questions or concerns about your infants sleep space? Contact us - we are more than happy to help you become a more confident parent around your babies sleeping environment.