What Is A Crib Bumper

Comforter and bumper in empty baby crib

The ‘spidey’ sense is often heightened for most new parents, cautious of anything that can harm their child. You have probably already done an excellent job baby-proofing your home, but maybe there are some facets of your baby’s nursery that are still worrying – namely, your baby’s crib.

If you are protective, the hardened wood crib slats may be suspicious. What if your child hits their head or gets stuck between the slats? You have probably tried crib bumper pads to address this concern, though the crib bumpers might not be safe.

In our article below, we shed light on the baby crib bumpers topic, discussing their history, what they are, and whether or not you should use them for your crib. Continue reading for more information on what a crib bumper is.

So What is a Crib Bumper

Crib liners or baby crib bumpers are fabric pads that have been tailored to surround your crib’s interior sides, thereby preventing your baby from slipping their legs accidentally between the slats. They also help prevent the baby from hitting its head on the crib’s sides.

To ensure that their babies are safe, most parents have used baby crib bumpers, which were meant to offer a bubble protection layer to the baby while using the crib. However, though their purpose is to protect the baby, research has shown that they could instead harm the baby.

Fear of injury is not always the driving force leading to parents buying crib bumper pads. Usually, a crib bumper might be marketed as a modish nursery addition. Often, they were sold together as a set, including baby beddings to complement the baby’s room appearance.

Some sellers promote crib bumpers as an ideal complement to nursery designs but the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and American Academy of Pediatrics seem to differ. Experts have continued warning of crib bumpers’ risks for some time. From the 2007 Journal of Pediatrics, we learn that crib bumpers might be risky since they pose a strangulation or suffocation hazard.

The Safety Of Crib Bumpers

The question of whether crib bumpers are safe is quite common. And the answer is a firm NO. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages crib bumpers due to sleep-related deaths concerns. The issue is that a baby can suffocate if their mouth or nose gets trapped against or under the pad – a genuine concern. According to an AAP study conducted in 2020, hazardous beddings are linked to 72% of all sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs).

The Safety Of Mesh Crib Liners

There has been a lot of deliberation on whether crib bumpers are safe based on the crib bumper pads’ fabric. Nonetheless, there are alternative bumper types on the market, ranging from vertical bumpers, which are single crib slat covers designed to prevent head hits, to mesh crib liners designed to restrict the flailing little legs and arms of the toddler within the crib.

Provided that a mesh crib liner could seem to have improved airflow compared to a crib bumper pad, and as pointed out by the CPSC, they are slimmer than conventional bumpers with limited to no padding at all.

Is A Crib Bumper Safe For Older Children?

A crib bumper pad presents a complete set of challenges for toddlers and older babies. With kids getting older, the crib bumper can be used as a launching pad. Your baby might step on it to gain some elevation to escape from the crib and probably end up hurting themselves.

What Alternatives Are There To A Crib Bumper?

You have probably come across products that are advertised to eliminate the risk of suffocation. However, doctors also discourage using such products. The AAP sternly advises against using crib bumpers of any sort, the mesh variety included.

They discourage crib bumpers not only because they pose a suffocation risk but also because they can lead to entrapment or strangulation thanks to the ties that hold the bumpers in position.

Even though the material might be breathable, according to the particular product, the baby can still end up entangled in the fabric or in the strings used to attach to the crib. Therefore the risk of strangulation and entanglement is still present.

In addition, as kids grow up, there is a reduction in the risk of SIDS, though they can now use the bumpers as leverage and attempt jumping out. The most prevalent injury linked to cribs is falling. A toddler can use the bumper pad to help themselves up and climb out of the crib. This increases the risk of a concussion or head injury following a fall. As you try to eradicate one risk, you might unknowingly create another.

Creating A Safe And Secure Sleeping Environment For A Baby

To reduce the probability of SIDS and other sleep-related harm, professionals advise you to take the precautions below:

  • Ensure that your bassinet or crib meets the latest safety measures. You can go to the saferproducts.gov website or contact CPSC through their hotline, 800-638-2772, to check whether there have been injury reports concerning your bassinet or crib. After buying a new bassinet or crib, it is also advisable to seek product-specific notifications and updates by filling a registry card or registering online. You are guaranteed to be notified of any notices or recalls issued through this.
  • Keep the crib bare, with only a firm mattress and fitted sheets. If you have concerns about your child getting cold, you have the option of using a wearable blanket or sleep sack.
  • Check to ensure that your mattress is of the correct size and is placed at the right height. Once your baby sits up on its own, the height should be reduced.
  • As you lay your baby down to sleep, place them on their back.
  • During sleep times and naps, use a pacifier to keep the airways open.
  • Avoid positioners and crib wedges.


A crib bumper is a cotton pad positioned around the edges of a crib. Originally, they were meant to reduce the risk of babies’ heads getting stuck between crib slats, which were farther apart than they currently are. Crib bumpers were also intended to provide soft cushioning around the baby to prevent them from knocking against the crib’s hardwood.