The Lullaby Trust is recommending all parents remove cot bumpers and use a flat firm mattress in a cot or Moses basket with no loose bedding, pillows or bumpers, as a new US study shows the number of infant deaths and injuries attributed to cot bumpers has spiked in recent years.
According to the study by the Washington University School of Medicine, published in the journal of Pediatrics, cot bumpers caused the death of 48 infants between 1985 and 2012 in the USA, with numbers peaking between 2006-2012. A total of 146 babies were involved in cot bumper incidents in which they nearly suffocated, choked or were strangled.
Babies died as a result of becoming wedged between a bumper and mattress, their face becoming covered by a bumper or getting bumper ties wrapped around their neck.
The researchers found that approximately 67 per cent of the deaths could have been prevented if a bumper had not been used in the crib, despite the cribs also containing other objects such as comforters, blankets, pillows or toys.
In light of the findings, the Lullaby Trust, which does not recommend the use of cot bumpers, is urging parents to follow its 'safer sleep advice' and calling for retailers to think twice about selling bumpers.
The charity’s chief executive Francine Bates said, ‘This is compelling new evidence that cot bumpers do pose a serious risk to babies. We do not recommend the use of any sort of cot bumpers and urge all parents to follow our safer sleep advice to use a flat firm mattress in a cot or Moses basket with no loose bedding, pillows or bumpers.
‘Cot bumpers pose a threat to babies once they begin to roll and move about the cot. We know that some infants have become entangled in the ties and material, or fallen while pulling themselves up on the bumpers.
‘Baby retailers need to think twice before selling these products or at the very least we need to see consistent safety standards for cot bumpers across Europe and clearer warning messages on all packaging.
‘New parents now have a massive range of baby products to choose from and it can be really confusing to know what is needed. Babies need just a few basic items for sleep: a firm flat surface and some bedding. Our advice is simple: the safest cot is a clear cot.’