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Agency questioned for failing to investigate deaths related to crib bumpers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is coming under fire in a recent Chicago Tribune article questioning why the Agency failed to investigate the popular crib bumper pads that had trapped and killed infants. In 2006, one baby was determined by the medical examiner to have suffocated after being trapped against padding in the corner of the crib. Federal regulators never examined whether the baby’s death involved an unsafe product and that wrongful death was only one of at least seventeen cases where the CPSC did not investigate the child’s death, even though the CPSC had reports on file suggesting that the unsafe bumper pads played roles in the facilities.

The Chicago Tribune investigated some of the cases and found that the medical examiners and coroners reported that bumper pads were involved in the suffocations. Now, the CPSC is trying to decide if the popular nursery products are safe, but is doing the investigating without having investigated all of the wrongful deaths that involved bumpers. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other consumer protection and advocacy groups have urged parents not to use the crib bumpers because they present such a suffocation risk. Officials are examining if there is a scientific link between bumper pads and suffocations or if other factors, such as blankets, pillows, or medical issues, played the primary role in the babies’ deaths. In addition to the seventeen cases mentioned, the Chicago Tribune also found that officials have investigated at least a dozen infant deaths where bumpers appeared to play a role. The safety agency stated that in those fatalities, the bumpers were not clearly the culprit because of other factors.

The Chicago wrongful death lawyers found the Chicago Tribune report shocking, especially in regard to the cases with the additional factors questioned in the children’s deaths. In some of those other cases with additional factors, the Chicago Tribune has found that the babies had their faces pressed into bumper pads. For example, a 2-month-old baby was found with her face pressed against a bumper pad and one of her arms stuck between the pad and crib railing. The detective who responded to the wrongful death scene noted that while other items were in the crib, the baby’s face was against the bumper.