ATLANTA — A new federal law aimed at protecting young children bans the sale of a crib product once commonly used by new parents.
The Safe Cribs Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden, makes it unlawful to manufacture, sell, or distribute padded bumpers that line the inside of a crib. In the coming days, the Consumer Product Safety Commission will designate crib bumpers as hazardous products.
At Georgia Baby Furniture in Buford, cribs are designed to protect an active infant. Owner Mary Ash remembers when crib bumpers were considered protective. Two decades ago, bumpers came with the crib she bought for her first child.
“I just had a sense that the bumpers were not safe,” said Ash. “So, I never used the bumpers. They’re still in a box."
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 113 fatal incidents associated with crib bumpers between 1990 and 2019.
“A lot of them have a shape where the child can get up against the material and the carbon dioxide pools around their face and they just unfortunately suffocate,” explained Rob Carter of Prepare First.
Carter’s organization inspects homes for issues that might harm a child. He says too often, he finds risks.
“I think parents are aware of there being an issue with bumpers, but I don't think that it's well understood what all of the issues are,” Carter added. “It's the same issue with toys that people put in cribs or blankets. Once a child gets mobile, if they can get their face up against that, they're not going to recognize that they're creating a problem.”
The new law also bans sleepers with an incline steep enough to pose a risk.
“A lot of mothers can relate to this,” said Ash. “You just worry.”
Meanwhile, Ash is happy to know that federal law now reflects the concern she had about crib bumpers so many years ago.