Monday, June 4, 2012

Crib Bumpers & The JPMA's Stance

If you are a reader and watcher of all things baby, you may have seen a segment done on the Today Show, which they called an "Investigative Report" on Crib Bumpers. Well, since the Today Show is not in the business of protecting babies as their job...there is obviously some major discrepancies between what they say and what JPMA says. Below is the JPMA's response on the subject:

"The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), an association dedicated to promoting the safe selection and use of juvenile products, maintains that crib bumper pads can help prevent injury when used correctly. Traditional crib bumpers prevent head injuries and limb entrapment, the leading causes of crib injuries in children today.
JPMA has also urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) via petition last week to adopt a mandatory rule to define and distinguish between hazardous “soft” pillow-like crib bumper pads and traditional crib bumpers. The petition further outlines JPMA’s opinion that parents will benefit from a clarifying standard when shopping in retail locations.

In 2011, JPMA commissioned a third party review of previous studies of crib bumpers by Exponent, a leading engineering and scientific consulting firm providing solutions to complex technical problems. Based on the outcomes of the studies that were reviewed, Exponent found that there were methodological problems that were apparent in the criteria used to select the incidents included for analysis and in the analytical treatment of other potential contributors.  When JPMA attempted to provide the American Academy of Pediatrics the study in 2011, unfortunately they did not respond to requests to review the data.
“Our fear is that if there is an elimination of traditional crib bumpers, parents will still want the product and will begin creating their own makeshift bumper as a protective barrier from the tight slat/spindle dimensions and hard wooden surface of the crib slats," said Michael Dwyer CAE, Executive Director of JPMA. “We are already seeing early evidence of this in social networking forums and through injury reports, and parents need to be able to trust products that are currently available on store shelves that have passed rigorous safety and reliability tests.”

Data demonstrates that the message is not always reaching the child rearing population or perhaps is being ignored. As a result, JPMA is concerned that any recommendations that result in the de facto elimination of safe and useful products specifically designed for infant use, will have unintended consequences. Experience in cities such as Milwaukee, Baltimore, and Chicago suggests this is a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

“Manufacturers are committed to working with CPSC and other stakeholders to develop a mandatory standard for crib bumper pads,” continued Dwyer. “The standard process, led by ASTM is currently underway for infant bedding and crib bumpers. JPMA believes that the ASTM crib bumper dynamic requirements, which were supported by the subcommittee, can now provide a reasonable basis for a Federal crib bumper performance standard that distinguishes safe products and allows choices for parents.”
ASTM, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials, facilitates discussions to establish voluntary standards for a variety of industries including juvenile products. Manufacturers, along side consumer advocates, government agencies and engineers, have been working to define the crib bumper standard to help parents in their selection process.

Currently balloted items include enhancements to the warning statements to ensure parents are properly using and affixing bumper products in cribs. This, along with a new test method to measure bumper thickness and the strength of ties, will result in a stronger standard.

These products should meet Federal guidelines. Child safety is paramount. Assurance that products are designed with quality, safety, performance and functionality in mind can be achieved with such a standard. This assures that parents and caregivers are given a range of choices and safe sleep options for their family.
JPMA provides resources to all stakeholders including retailers and parents to help educate them on the proper use of crib bumpers.

In its 50 year history, JPMA has dedicated tremendous resources to public safety awareness campaigns assisting parents in their baby product research. The landmark 2010 Safe Sleep awareness campaign continues to help parents today design a safe and functional nursery. Parents can find tips and recommendations when outfitting baby’s sleep environment at www.cribsafety.org and through safety tip inserts provided with product packaging for the last decade. JPMA is urging other organizations, physicians and companies to dedicate resources to awareness campaigns to help parents make informed decisions.
 

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