The experienced child injury attorneys of Passen & Powell have previously written about the dangers of crib bumpers – a whimsical nursery product which enjoys immense popularity across the United States. These padded, decorative items wrap around the inside of the crib, tying to crib slats, and create the impression of a soft, cozy, welcoming sleep environment for baby.
Indeed, crib bumpers are so popular that virtually no nursery bedding set does not include one, or at least the option to purchase one. Yet parents who use these products may be gambling not only with their children’s health, but with their very lives.
Various non-profit and consumer protection groups, up to and including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have steadfastly urged parents not to use these dangerous products. Yet, as e have previously noted, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has adopted a dilatory approach to the crib bumper problem, allowing the industry to self-regulate, and delaying any much-needed regulation or even informational campaign.
Now, it has come to light that, above and beyond these failures, the CPSC has not even begun to look into the deaths these products have already caused.
In fact, in at least seventeen known cases, the CPSC failed to investigate an infant’s death, in spite of having received reports indicating that dangerous crib bumpers were at least partly to blame. In fact, the Chicago Tribune recently uncovered multiple instances where state governments, including medical examiners and coroners, had concluded that crib bumpers were responsible for an infant’s death. Their reports, or death certificates stating the cause of death, were sent to federal regulators – who then failed to investigate whether a dangerous product was involved.
Even without having fully investigated the many infant deaths resulting from crib bumpers, the CPSC has embarked on a mission to determine whether bumpers, a singularly popular nursery accessory, are safe. Our baby injury and wrongful death attorneys are discouraged that the CPSC would purport to make such an important decision without bothering to acquaint itself with the real-world tragedies these products have caused.
The CPSC claims that it is looking into the crib bumper issue, to determine if there is a “scientific link” between the bumpers and the risk of infant suffocation. The Commission maintains that other factors, such as blankets and pillows, may in fact be to blame.
This argument upsets child-protection advocates, and for good reason. Studies have concluded that at least 27 infants have died in recent years as a result of crib bumpers. In many of the 17 uninvestigated deaths noted above, the deceased infant was found suffocated, with her mouth and nose pressed against the bumper pad (young infants often lack the strength and control to intentionally change their position), leading to the examiner’s unassailable conclusion about the cause of death. This was also true in many of an additional twelve infant deaths where the Commission did investigate, but concluded that bumpers could not clearly be blamed because pillows and blankets were also present. As Dr. Rachel Moon, of the Children’s National Medical Center and the American Academy of Pediatrics, has adroitly stated, “If the baby was found with the face smushed up against the bumper pad, then I don’t understand the relevance of the pillow or the blanket.”
Neither do the child injury attorneys of Passen & Powell. We urge, in fact demand, that the CPSC stop ignoring, stop pretending, and take action. The age of senseless deaths from this unnecessary, dangerous product must come to an end.
In the meantime, we urge all parents of infants, and expectant parents, to refrain from purchasing these deadly accessories. Parents who have purchased crib bumpers should remove them from infants’ cribs immediately. Even a single additional death is one too many. And those parents who have suffered a tragic loss should consider taking legal action against the manufacturers. If the CPSC will do nothing to stop the sale of these hazardous products, then perhaps the threat of legal action and financial damage will provoke the peddlers of these products to change their thinking.
For a Free Consultation with a top-rated Chicago injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.