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Baby bumpers have got to go The number of babies who have died because of this common crib bedding has tripled in the last seven years of data available.

But many experts recommend against their use. Babies cool themselves mainly through their heads and if they wriggle up the cot and press their heads against the soft cot bumper they can overheat, which is believed to contribute to SIDS. Why are crib bumpers unsafe?

That's according to authors of a study that looked at infant deaths since Between and , bumpers possibly were involved in 77 deaths, according to a study running in the latest edition of the Journal of Pediatrics. The authors analyzed records from the U. The uptick in reports may be due to better awareness among doctors, but overall the authors believe these numbers are still "dramatically" undercounted.

There are no federal regulations restricting the use of crib bumpers.

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  • There are industry standards that companies can follow voluntarily. For instance, companies no longer sell plastic bumpers and the fabric bumpers are thinner than they once were.

    Safety experts want crib bumpers banned for sale But bumpers have been considered such a problem that Chicago and the state of Maryland ban bumper sales in stores. The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised parents not to use them, including the newer breathable mesh bumpers, and pediatricians regularly warn parents about them.

    In , Consumer Reports put bumpers on the " 13 dangerous baby products to avoid " list. However, the industry still considers them safe and you can buy them in nearly any baby store.

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    For that reason, study co-author Dr. Brad Thach , a pediatrician and professor at Washington University in St. Louis, argues more needs to be done.

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  • Read More "You go into any store and you see all these cribs with bumpers and you see where people would assume if they weren't safe, stores wouldn't be selling them," Thach said.

    The injury would be a bump or a bruise, Thach said. When death certificates or investigation documents specifically list the crib bumper as the cause of death, children typically were smothered between the bumper and a part of the crib, they choked on the bumper ties, or an older child used the bumper to climb out of the crib and fell on his or her head.

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    This is not the first time Thach and his co-authors have tried to raise awareness of this problem. A study he did in found 27 accidental deaths attributed to bumper pads.

    At the time, the authors called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to restrict use. The department took no action. The industry did voluntarily make the bumpers thinner. But the latest study says there have been deaths since that time and Thach argues making bumpers thinner is not enough. Asked about the study, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association , which represents the industry, sent a statement.

    Lorena Kaplan, the Safe to Sleep Campaign lead at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development , said there is some variation on data collection in general, but her organization suggests parents follow the American Association of Pediatrics guidelines.

    Even if bumpers are still easy to buy that doesn't make them a good option, she said. Study co-author Thach is a grandfather and he does have some empathy for concerned parents.

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    When his grandchild got an arm or leg stuck outside the crib, "there was yelling.

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