Buyer Beware When It Comes to Crib Bedding

Parents need to know possible dangers before buying or registering for crib bedding and sleep accessories.


A new report from MSNBC and the Today show reveals that retail stores across the United States are continuing to actively promote soft and cushy baby bedding and sleep products despite repeated warnings from health officials against using anything in cribs except a flat sheet.

"Experts say it's hard to know what's best with the kind of confusing message you get at many stores," according to the MSNBC article and Today show video clip.

An NBC reporter and crew went undercover to three popular stores for baby items to see what the sales clerks would say about these items. At one store, a saleswoman in the Today show clip was asked about crib bumpers and was filmed responding: "You want soft for your baby. ... Especially the newborns." Clerks at the other two stores offered a warning but with conflicting information.

Crib bedding is usually sold in sets, not individually. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the buyer should be aware of the risks involved in using these items.

"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, says a Wall Street Journal article in 2011 when makers of bedding for cribs agreed to voluntary standards regarding the length of bumper ties and to warning labels about possible risks.

We understand that with crib bumpers and accessories still on store shelves, it is a personal choice whether to buy one when you're putting together your baby's nursery. In reality, you will only need a fitted crib sheet until your baby starts to move, according to our Bare is Best page. 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. Then, head over to our Safe Sleep page to read up on sleep safety and your baby.