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Like Sleeping? How Safe Crib Bumpers Can Boost Your Snooze

Warning…this post about safe crib bumpers is going to shock you. I’m going to actually suggest you use them. *maniacal laughter*

You knew that Mighty Moms was a different kind of parenting blog, but THIS…? This is just so…

…rebellious!

Why do I boldly state what no baby blog has stated before?  Because bumpers actually help some babies sleep better…AND because living in the 21st century is AWESOME, these new designs are actually safe!

What Type of Sleeper is Your Baby?

The first thing you’ll have to determine when wondering if a crib bumper could help your tiny tot, is to determine what type of sleeper you’re dealing with.

Type 1: The Lazy Caterpillar

This baby greets you in the morning in the exact same spot you put him to bed on.  If this is your baby, reading any further is pointless.  Go back to your Netflix binge.

Type 2: The Contortionist

This baby dreams of joining Cirque du Soleil: twisting, shifting, and sliding her way around the crib, locking her limbs between the slats. (Which, of course, wakes her.)

Type 3: The Headbanger

This baby rolls around his crib like he’s practicing for the Pinball Olympics.  The constant movements frequently cause him to nail his head against the slats, causing him to wake up screaming.

3 Reasons Why They Say Crib Bumpers are Evil (And How I Rehabilitate Them)

What is a mom supposed to do if her baby is a headbanging contortionist every night? Well, the One-Thought-Fits-All parenting experts all shout that “CRIB BUMPERS = BAD PARENT.”

So do you suffer in silence and watch your sleep slowly drip away?  Or you do use the bumpers, struggling with guilt and terror every night?

Neither.

I think you can have your sleep and safety too.

#1: They May Contribute to SIDS

This is a legitimate concern.  No one wants to mess with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The theory here (and it is a theory, since no one knows the specific cause of SIDS) is that it restricts the fresh air flow, and that perhaps your baby could re-breathe her carbon dioxide and asphyxiate.

My solution here is simple.  Use a safety schedule.

Bumpers Off:  at birth

Bumpers on:  Once she can easily flip her head from side to side if something is bother her nose and rolling is achieved skill. (Tickle her nose a little when she’s awake on her back.  Does she easily turn her head away?)

Bumpers Off:  When she starts pulling herself up to a standing position.  She could learn to step on the bumper to help her climb out.  For my Elena, who rolled like a baby-possessed, I never took them off.  (My crib was a fortress, none of my kids ever managed to crawl out of it, bumpers or no.)

#2: The Strings are a Strangulation Hazard

So tie them. TIGHTLY. 

Tie a double-triple knot or use the zipper-designed Wonder Bumpers.

#3: They Can Be an Entrapment Hazard

This is also true.   The concern here is that a baby’s head will get stuck between the bumper and the crib mattress and the baby will suffocate.

See this crib bumper style? This is the perfect photo of a Bumper Gone Bad.  This is not a bumper pad. This is a bumper pillow. 

Bumpers like this are, in fact, an entrapment hazard.  Your baby’s head could easily get stuck between the massive pouffy pillow and the mattress. Avoid them.  Burn them.  Let the dog sleep on them.  But do not, under any circumstances, put these big fat caterpillars inside your crib. 

Try one of these safer alternatives instead.

This Crib Mesh Liner is a great choice for babies who like to get entangled in the crib slats!

Safe Crib Bumper Options:
The Breathable Crib Mesh Liner

The Breathable Crib Mesh Liner is a good choice if you have a Contortionist Sleeper who likes to twist his arms and legs around the slats (and then scream until you come to untangle him. Since it’s so then and mesh-y, it’s not a help for babies who are Headbanger Sleepers.

Here are some of the reasons the Breathable Crib Mesh Liner is a good crib bumper choice:

  • Prevents contortionist babies from getting arms and legs caught.
  • Allows for great air-flow, reducing SIDS risk
  • No chance of entrapment against the mattress
  • No string ties
The Wonder Bumpers are a good safe choice for babies who love to headbang in the night.

Safe Crib Bumper Options:
Wonder Bumpers

The Mesh liner is to Contortionists as the Wonder Bumpers are to Headbangers. These pads are individually zipped up each slat, which means that air-flow and entrapment isn’t an issue here.  Also, since they ZIP, there’s no need to worry about long strings getting untied.

For the sake of consistency, though, let’s list out the pros for the Wonder Bumper design:

  • Zip up around each slat, so no long ties to worry about
  • Air-flow is not an issue
  • Entrapment is not an issue
  • Great cushion for headbanger babies

Obviously, this bumper design isn’t going to help with Contortionist babies. There’s still a gap in between the slats where they can squeeze their leg through.

So what do you do if you have a Headbanging Cortortionist Sleeper? Who does it all?

Tall and thin bumper sets like this one protect your baby’s precious sleep from both headbanging and contortionist movements all night long.

Safe Crib Bumpers:
Tall and Thin Bumper Sets

 The Tall and Thin Crib Bumper Set is ideal for babies who like to be everything. They love to headbang AND wrap themselves into a pretzel. No limitations on these kids! No sirree.

Unlike those gosh-awful caterpillar crib bumpers above, these are THIN which makes entrapment very unlikely (especially if you rotate your bumpers and leave them off until your baby has mastered the Turning of the Head skill.)

Should You Use Bumpers?

You know what I think?

I think you’re one smart mama and whatever decision you make (to use or not to use) will be the best one for your family.

The good news, of course, is that you have options.

You can help your contortionist and head-banging babies sleep well at night! You just need some creative and SAFE bumper solutions!

Have You Read These Yet?

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59 thoughts on “Like Sleeping? How Safe Crib Bumpers Can Boost Your Snooze

  1. My four month old son has been in his crib since he was about 3 months old. We use the mesh bumper pads. They are breathable and look great on his crib. I couldn’t find them in a store and ended up ordering them from Amazon.

  2. Yeah it is kind of good to have baby bumper. I also use it in my baby cot.  I think its time to change it now and have to buy dual-slate tie ventilated bumpers as i think it will suit perfectly for my baby. Also you mentioned it is best for headbanger babies and guess what my baby is one of them. So will buy it ASAP.

  3. Stephanie,

    As a first time mom also I can totally understand that question. I don’t necessarily have an answer weather to do a bumper or not but what I can say is that for the first two months of my sons life I was swaddling him and he was moving around in his bassinet a lot even at birth to the point that we would find him in a different direction than what he was when we laid him down… I didn’t have a crib until he was at three months so I am not sure about the bumper issue but I can say that if your little one is a squirmer then not even a swaddle will stop your baby from moving.

  4. So I just thought I’d toss in my two cents worth, I sew. So I made a bumper with a breathable mesh and a thin flat pillow(not thicker than an inch) it’s kinda like stripes, 3 inches of bumper pillow 3 inches of mesh. Breathable and safe!

  5. Thanks Jarod for sharing that link. It’s very helpful to consider. I just want to point out that it was published in 2006, and as I pointed out in the article, a lot has changed in design since then. There are lots of safer versions out there today that can help parents find that balance between safety and sleep. That said, I really appreciate the link – it will be very helpful!

  6. Thanks Anneliese, I’m glad you are enjoying it! I think my daughters would absolutely agree with you! Bumpers on bunk beds – a great idea!

  7. My name is Anneliese (by the way you pronounced it wrong in your had it’s on-uh-lee-suh Anneliese there we go much better) my parents used baby bumpers on my crib as a baby and I’m living proof that baby bumpers are a not a sure fire cause of SIDS. I currently have a loft bed very high up and I wish I could have bumpers on it I’m a contortionist and head banger on these metal bars it’s quite funny to see where I’ll wake up in the morning. I love this blog I’ll definitely have bumpers on my baby’s crib. I’ve been doing tons of research about bedding, furniture, and accessories and my first experience on your blog has been wonderful.

  8. We did not use the bumper before our little guy could roll and move.  I kept them off until he started screaming every time he was in the crib (around six months).  We decided to try the thin padded bumpers to shrink the space of our room to make him feel safer.  The bumpers quickly made his crib more desirable as he stared at the images that were close to his face instead of the objects far away across the room.  He also stopped rolling as far because the “wall” the bumpers created is more visible.  He seems to stop his roll a few inches short of the bumpers instead of cramming his whole body into the slats like he did before the bumpers.  I did carefully observe his behaviour on the monitor between his bedtime and mine to curb my anxiety:) We would advocate bumpers for babies that are big enough to discover how big the world really is!  They will come off when he starts to sit up and climb.

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