Maybe this should be #1. Or maybe this highlights that this list is not necessarily in order. Because I really don’t want you to underestimate how very much I mean it when I say – You do Not need Cot Bumpers.
#3 Baby item you absolutely do not need: cot bumpers. In fact…. Please Do Not buy cot bumpers.
A cot bumper is padding that runs around the inside of a cot, supposedly to protect the baby from banging their head on the hard sides or getting any part of their body caught between the bars. But cot bumpers have been associated with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), strangulation, and suffocation, and can be very dangerous for your baby.
I can feel myself getting slightly stressed just writing about it. I began this list, this blog, and my consultation service largely because there are so many aspects of babycare that are confusing for parents and families. And no wonder, when there are things marketed to you as helping to keep your baby safe that are widely agreed to potentially lead to their death!! It’s incredible that things like cot bumpers are even allowed to be sold. If I could rip every cot bumper I see off the shelves, I would (maybe I should?). But, since the causes of SIDS are still yet to be fully understood, I suppose it’s not clear enough to ban them – though there are many advisories against them from health bodies around the world*.
However they came to be allowed on the market, cot bumpers are presented as a way to prevent injury in the cot from bumps or caught heads and limbs, and to a lesser degree to assist with longer and better sleeps (presumably since babies aren’t woken after flinging themselves repeatedly at the edges of the cot or trapping all legs, arms, and head between bars simultaneously). Each and every one of these issues can be dealt with by swaddling or wrapping your baby and tucking them in tightly with a sheet and/or blanket at the foot of the cot. Babies love being wrapped tightly to sleep. With the addition of a firmly tucked in blanket holding them in place they will sleep more soundly, and could not possibly bang their heads or trap their arms.
If your baby is free to move but ‘protected’ by cot bumpers there is an increased risk of strangulation, suffocation and death from SIDS. Babies cool themselves mainly through their heads and if they wriggle up the cot and press their heads against the soft cot bumper they can overheat, which is believed to contribute to SIDS. Many cot bumpers tie to the bars with strings and some have decorative ribbons and bows which can become wrapped around the baby’s neck and cause strangulation. A baby who can roll may end up with their face pressed between the mattress (which also, incidentally should be firm and not too soft and pillowy) and the cot bumper and suffocate. The decreased air flow from the covering of the cot slats is also thought to be a possible contributor to SIDS.
And if all this isn’t enough to convince you, there is very little chance your baby will hurt themselves on the cot’s unpadded bars and sides anyway. If they are wrapped and tucked in, they can’t get to the bars. But if they are older and can wriggle, roll or crawl, there is no real way they can accidentally bash their heads hard enough against the edge of the cot to truly hurt themselves. Little knocks and bumps are of no real danger to baby, certainly not when compared to the dangers posed by the cot bumpers. Cots made and sold in Australia have to meet safety standards which include slats with a space between them big enough to gets small limbs through without getting dangerously stuck but narrow enough not to get a head through at all. Slats must be flat, not rounded, as it is the rounded bars that are more likely to injure baby’s head.
So, please do not buy a cot bumper. They are more than unnecessary, they are flat out dangerous.
You may also like:
- #1. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby – nannysavvy.com
- #2. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby – nannnysavy.com
- #4. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby – nannysavvy.com
- #5. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby – nannysavvy.com
- #6. Top 10 things you don’t need for your baby – nannysavvy.com
* SIDS and Kids
* American Acadamy of Pediatrics
* Get bumpers out of cribs: Doctors group urges
* Women’s and Children’s Health Network
Why I love the concept of swaddling. (motherhoodajourney.wordpress.com)
And now I feel even more blessed… (babymamasblog.wordpress.com)