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In July 2011, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation requiring education for child care workers on safe sleep recommendations for babies. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has released new recommendations following research which showed crib bumper pads do little to prevent injury in cribs and have been linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases.

SIDS is generally blamed when a baby under age 1 dies suddenly from unexplained causes. Soft bedding in the crib may cause SIDS, which occurs without warning or symptoms while an infant is thought to be sleeping.

Bumper pads in baby cribs provide a soft padding and have been thought to prevent head injuries and entrapment injuries. However, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that crib bumper pads have the potential to suffocate or strangle a baby and recommends that "bare is better." Crib bumper pads may be defective products depending on how they are constructed.

Bumper Pads Blamed in Deaths

Researchers who conducted a review of US Consumer Product Safety Commission voluntary reports related to crib bumpers found that 27 babies had died from bumper pads in cribs from 1985 to 2005. The babies were either strangled by the bumper pad strings or were unable to breathe because of the soft pad. These deaths were enough to prompt the AAP to recommend removing pads from cribs.

In addition to perceptions of safety, many parents buy baby bumper pads for decoration. Many of the crib pads feature pastel colors and designs to accent a nursery. The AAP explains that these benefits are outweighed by the risk of SIDS from either suffocation or strangulation. In fact, many manufacturers include warnings of these dangers.

Soft Objects Increase Ricks

In addition to baby bumper pads, many parents put pillows and blankets inside a crib to provide what they see as a soft place for their baby to sleep. The AAP has long cautioned parents against putting pillows, comforters or quilts in a crib, because babies are not strong enough to prevent suffocation if their face rolls against a soft surface that may make it difficult to breathe. In addition to keeping soft objects out of cribs, Sudden Infant Death Services of Illinois recommends that when putting babies to sleep remember: "1. baby on back 2. alone 3. in a safe crib." Lake County product defect attorneys hope that the new legislation and AAP recommendations reduce these tragic occurrences.

The parents of any baby injured by baby bumper pads are not alone. An attorney with experience in cases involving SIDS can help protect the rights of the parents following tragedy.

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