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Are Crib Bumpers Safe for Older Babies?

I was asking myself this question last night before I put my 8 month old to bed.  He has yet to master the art of sleeping through the night, and the fact that he is now very mobile at night doesn’t help.  We tried swaddling him recently, which worked for a time.  But now that he is crawling, he is simply too strong for a swaddle.  After having a few rough nights in a row, my husband suggested I sleep next to our son for a night just to catch up on sleep.  So I did, and he hardly peeped all night. 

So where does the bumper come into play?  Being that I don’t want my son to get used to sleeping in my bed, I was feeling desperate to try something else that might make him sleep better.  I decided to bring out the bumper from storage and give it a try, hoping that it would give him that cozy, secure feeling that he gets when he sleeps in bed next to me.  Also, since he moves around so much at night, I was hoping it would keep him from jarring himself awake when he pushes into the side of the crib. 

So I put the bumper in the crib and placed him in for the night.  I was feeling okay with my decision despite the fact that you hear horror stories of babies suffocating or that bumpers are linked to SIDS.  However, my husband was pretty nervous about the thought, which in turn made me nervous.  Was it really safe to put my baby in a crib with a bumper?

So I went right to the internet and searched to see what information was out there in using bumpers with older babies.  As with anything else, there were strong arguments for both sides.  But the one thing that helped me make my decision was a post by an active police officer who gave statistics that your baby is more likely to get kidnapped than to be harmed or killed by a crib bumper.  I also found many parents who have used a bumper since their baby was just a newborn and have not had any problems. 

So after reading this I breathed a little easier about my decision.  How much of this bumper hysteria is simply due to people being overly-cautious?  I think of all of the other dangers out there that are more likely to hurt my baby: the stairs, the coffee table, a nickel he finds on the floor.  The possibilities are endless!  After having this little pep talk with myself, I decided to try the bumper for a night.  If there was no improvement in his sleep, I would remove it. 

Before I went to sleep for the night, I snuck into his room to check on him.  Was his face plastered to the side of the bumper?  No.  Was he breathing?  Yes, and sleeping perfectly.  So I went to bed and had a great night’s sleep, only getting up once, which is much better than the every 3 hours I’ve dealt with in the past!  I’m not saying the bumper helped him sleep better.  It will take a few nights to figure that out.  But I realized in all of this that a bumper isn’t going to cause certain death to my baby like I felt I was led to believe. 

So my advice, if you’re not sure about a bumper, do some research.  Read what parents say about it online.  Talk to your pediatrician.  Talk to your friends.  It may or may not be the right decision for you and your baby.  Just trust your instinct and make the best decision for baby!

What do you think about using a crib bumper for an older baby?



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