Do you use a bumper? — The Bump
Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Do you use a bumper?

My baby will be 5 months old next week. She can roll over and has great head and neck support. We had a cloth bumper in her crib but took it out 2 months ago. Since then we've stopped swaddling her. Last night she bumped her head on the bars (we saw her do this on the monitor) and she started screaming. She's a wiggly one and is all over the crib. I'm planning on putting the bumper back in. I don't think she can suffocate but there's so much negativity around bumpers so I'm a little hesitant. I ask the pediatrician at her 4 month appt. and she said if they were that dangerous they wouldn't be sold. Thoughts?

Re: Do you use a bumper?

  • Well, I think that was an incredibly stupid response from your pediatrician as I would imagine the risk for a 5-month old would be pretty minor compared to a 2-month old where they could easily suffocate on it when they first start rolling.  Honestly, if it were me, I would get a new pediatrician as there is tons of crap that is sold that isn't safe. Terrible reasoning there. 

    But all of that aside, we personally aren't doing bumpers ever.  I would definitely feel more comfortable being at the rolling stage you are.  But the SIDS risk is still there (albeit, certainly lower now at her age) since the concern is the neurological issue that doesn't trigger for the baby to wake, cry, lift their head or roll (even if they have the ability).  And the suffocation risk is pretty low with the one major study showing 27 kiddos under two that died in a twenty-year span, but even that low of risk isn't something I would be willing to take on (for myself but wouldn't ever judge another parent for making a different choice!)  Also, once your baby can stand up, they can use the bumper to stand on a bit to help crawl out of the crib, which isn't that big of a deal, but just one more little con.  
  • We don't have one now, but I'm looking into a "breathable bumper". DS gets his hands, arms, and legs stuck all the time and then he can't roll around. That wakes him up and he cries until someone moves him. I haven't done too much research on them, so I don't know if they are good or not. 
  • We used a breathable bumper with DD since she kept getting her hands and feet stuck and I was happy with it.  I have it on now for DS and it seems to be working for us. 
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  • We just purchased a breathable one after I caught my daughter's leg hanging out between the slats. She is very squirmy and I believe this to be best for us.

    Bekke
    Married 8.27.2011 ~ EDD 5.13.15

    Doxie Mama

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  • We have a breathable mesh one and it has been a life saver.  The night that I knew we needed to put it on he woke up with both legs through the crib hanging out.  He sleeps great with it and I've never been worried about a safety hazard with it.
  • I just got a breathable one because of feet getting stuck (and a very cranky baby because of it). But my SIL had the same problem with her daughter bumping her head, so she uses a more classic bumper without any problems so far. The risk is definitely there, as PP mentioned, so do some research on it. I think they make breathable cushioned bumpers which might be a good compromise.
  • I'm an older FTM, I have them on DS crib but he hasn't transitioned yet. I feel that if your child has great head, neck, and body control then use them. There will always be something someone got hurt on, try not to focus on that. Use your intuition and gut whether your daughter wouldn't move if she got caught up in it. Or use the breathable ones.
  • I was looking into the breathable ones. My LO rolls all over the place and gets her arms and legs stuck then can't roll back over. She gets upset and cries. I don't see an issue with the breathable ones since the pack n plays basically have the same thing!
  • I think the breathable mesh is fine but never use plush bumpers. The issue is not suffocation for a 5 month old so much as rebreathing. That is when a baby is breathing against something plush like a blanket, bumper, pillow, cosleeping parent etc and the breathe in the carbon dioxide that they just breathed out raising the carbon dioxide level in the blood which will cause them to lose consciousness and stop breathing. They don't move away from the plush object because they never feel like they are having trouble with breathing. It's freaking scary and I don't know why plush bumpers are still being sold. The pediatrician should know that and the American Academy of pediatrics says not to use them.
  • Crib bumpers are banned from being sold in some states (Maryland, for example) because they are unsafe, so your pediatrician is misinformed. If you really want to use one, get a breathable mesh one, as mentioned already.
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