Since 2008, the National Center for Child Death Review has analyzed 14 reports of suffocation caused by crib bumper pads. As a result of the recent press concerning this tragedy, as well as inaction by federal regulators, Chicago Aldermen have decided to take action. At this point it’s not certain exactly how many infants have died as a result of suffocation from being pressed up against the bumper pads, but even one child’s wrongful death from a hazardous product is one too many.
Crib bumper pads, which wrap around the inside of a crib and tie to crib slats, were originally designed to protect the child from bumping his or her head against the hard bars of the crib. However, at such a young age, babies often have not yet developed the necessary motor skills to move their heads or turn away if they roll against something that obstructs their breathing.
Chicago may be about to take the first step in becoming the first city in the United States to ban the sale of crib bumper pads. Though they were originally intended to be safety devices to prevent the child from hitting his or her head on the bars of the crib, the Chicago City Counsel is expected to vote on the ban of these pads. The dangers caused by having them in place seems to far outweigh any benefit they may provide.
Although federal regulators have not made a concrete determination that there is a scientific link between the bumper pads and incidents of infant suffocation, a December article in the Chicago Tribune reported that federal regulators knew of the potential risk, yet did not report findings to the public. Chicago aldermen are responding to the investigation by the Chicago Tribune by taking affirmative steps to ban the sale of these products.
In addition to the Chicago Tribune‘s investigation, the Canadian government’s health department issued a statement advising parents not to use crib bumper pads, stating that the “presence of bumper pads in a crib may also be a contributing factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). These products may reduce the flow of oxygen rich air to the infant in the crib. Furthermore, proposed theories indicate that the rebreathing of carbon dioxide plays a role in the occurrence of SIDS.”
In general, the task of regulating and banning unsafe products usually is in the hands of federal regulators, but as steps have yet to be taken, Chicago aldermen have taken the responsibility into their own hands. At the same time as Chicago aldermen are tackling the prohibition of bumper pads, the State of Maryland is likewise contemplating enacting a similar ban on the sale of these products.
In the meantime, what can be done? According to the American SIDS Institute, product safety experts advise against using pillows, sleep positioners, bumper pads, or other in-crib implements and instead recommend dressing the child warmly and keeping the crib “naked.”
Devastatingly, injuries caused by unsafe products can happen to anyone. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have experience in handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits, and have represented numerous plaintiffs who have brought claims against corporations or manufacturers who have sold or manufactured unsafe products.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of an injury caused by an unsafe or defective product, an Illinois personal injury attorney may be able to help you determine your rights.