Safety officials raise concerns about putting babies to bed with pillows and extra bedding in their crib. The best policy? Nothing at all until they are old enough.
What parents are placing inside their babies' cribs is raising red flags among U.S. officials and consumer advocacy groups, the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Puffy bumpers, pillows and blankets, low-hanging mobiles and a menagerie of stuffed animals all pose suffocation hazards to babies" younger than 12 months old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Related: Crib Safety: 6 Tips to Use Now
However, as one consumer advocate points out: "A lot of parents don't want to put their babies in an empty crib. But there are no standards for crib bedding and no warning labels," says Catherine Hall, founder of a nonprofit mothers advocacy group in Boston.
In the past, federal officials had started to examine the safety of baby bumpers. For years now, regulators have known about bumpers' possible suffocation risk in babies but have failed to warn parents.
When envisioning a nursery, most people picture a crib adorned with baby bedding. After all, most crib bedding sets are sold with sheets, quilts, pillows bumpers and matching bedskirts included.
However, from 2002 to 2004, "241 children under age 5 died in incidents involving nursery products. About 40 percent of the deaths involved cribs, with soft bedding cited as the leading contributing factor," MSNBC reports. The article quotes the CPSC saying that many of the children suffocated when lying facedown on pillows or other bedding.
In reality, you will only need a fitted crib sheet until your baby starts to move. When your infant hits that milestone, use a breathable crib bumper. Check out our Nursery Know-How page for more ideas on setting up a baby's room that you'll love. Also, browse through our Safe Sleep page to read up on sleep safety and your baby.