Objective: To document deaths attributed to bumper pads and injuries from their use that are potentially preventable.
Study design: The US Consumer Product Safety Commission maintains files on cases voluntarily reported to them of deaths and injury related to commercial products. These cases represent an unknown fraction of total occurrences. We searched this database for deaths related to crib bumpers for the years 1985 to 2005. We also searched other Consumer Product Safety Commission databases for crib-related injuries that potentially might have been prevented by bumpers. Additionally, we examined 22 retail crib bumpers and described features that could be hazardous.
Results: Twenty-seven accidental deaths reported by medical examiners or coroners were attributed to bumper pads. The mechanism of death included suffocation and strangulation by bumper ties. Twenty-five nonfatal injuries were identified, and most consisted of minor contusions. All retail bumpers had hazardous properties.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that crib and bassinet bumpers are dangerous. Their use prevents only minor injuries. Because bumpers can cause death, we conclude that they should not be used.