41 answers

When Is Okay to Use Crib Bumpers?

My almost 6 month old son is now rolling around in his crib and getting his feet caught in the bars which makes him cry out at night. He already gets up at least 2x a night to eat (we're still breast feeding) and now with the additional night time get ups I am not sleeping more than 1 or 2 hours in a row before he's crying. My question is this, can you use crib bumpers or not? I know that infants are not supposed have anything in their cribs to avoid crib death but what do I do getting some sleep? Has anyone put the bumpers back in the crib? Should I set up his pack and play so he can't get his feet caught in the bars? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

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Wow, 41 responses, amazing! Thank you all for taking the time to send your thoughts. I did purchase the mesh bumpers and they are helping out. I had heard of them before I posted my request but totally forgot about them when I needed them (sleep deprivation I'm sure) so that was great advice. Now that we aren't getting up the additional times, I can focus on cutting back on the night nursing. One step at a time, right?
- H.

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I put them in my son's crib, but i stuffed the majority of it between the matress and the crib rail. As my son got older, and I could trust him a little bit more I pulled a little bit more of the bumper up. Now I find him with his foot on top of the bumper up against the rail.

Hope this helps.

I have a very active chronic non-sleeper who used to do the same thing. He is now 12 months and still has the bumper in his crib. I have lowered the matress which seems to help. Good luck! I have questioned whether or not I have done the right thing but it has worked for us.

I still use the crib bumpers and my son is one year old! He loves cuddling up and once they can move on their own if something is over their face or suffocating them they will move out of the way-esp once the risk of SIDS has gone down...so I would put them back if thats what you feel you need to do! My son doesnt even try to climb out yet-knock on wood-which is the other reason they say to take them out! I couldnt imagine making him sleep against the hard wood esp the way he likes to cuddle!

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Try the mesh, breathable bumpers. A friend gave me her sons when he was done with them but I am not sure where she got them.

I think crib bumpers are a big NO NO, rather I have seen a type of netting that secures to the sides of the rib to remedy the problem you are having w/ the feetgetting stuck in between the bars. Look in that catalog Right Start or The Right Start...they seem to have all that neat baby stuff in there...good luck...try taking a nap when the baby does...the house work can wait!!!

I personally use bumpers for the very reason that you just cited. I have to believe that my 4 month old is smart enough and strong enough that if his face is pressed up against the bumper and he's having a hard time breathing, that he will react and turn his head. He certainly does when we tease him and plug his nose, he knows something isn't right. I've used bumpers from day one because I would hate to see him get his arm caught and then turn and damage his shoulder. It's a permeable fabric so it will allow air to pass through. I have a video monitor so I wake up every so often and just see where he is at in his crib, he's never been too close to the bumper, but if he was, I'd just go in and re-adjust.

I have a very active chronic non-sleeper who used to do the same thing. He is now 12 months and still has the bumper in his crib. I have lowered the matress which seems to help. Good luck! I have questioned whether or not I have done the right thing but it has worked for us.

I've seen it already suggested, but definitely try the breathable bumper. It will prevent his limbs from getting caught more effectively than a regular bumper, and it's safer.

Good luck & hope you get some better sleep soon!

We've had crib bumpers in our youngests crib since she has been born. She didn't use her crib up until she was four months of age because she wouldn't sleep anywhere but her swing, but we kept the bumpers in and when we actually took them out because my husband felt better about not having them in there, she wouldn't sleep as well, she would wake up frequently. So we put them back in. Honestly, she has NEVER played with them, they do protect her especially at her age of 18 months now she'll get overly excited about things and just roll around and plop down in her crib so I am glad they are there. I think that as long as you make sure everything is securely fastened and in place, that you should be fine and hopefully get some peaceful, much needed, sleep! Good luck :)

I never used one - but when I was looking for one this is what I found.


When my nephew was 9 months old he got his leg caught in between the rails of his crib and fractured his leg.If that's not sad enough, because he had young parents he was taken out of the home for 8 months,they just assumed it was intentional or atleast accidentaly done by a parent and was being hidden. The state monitored his health, his parents were questioned constantly on what happened, as were myself and family.His baby brother was born a few weeks after the accident and they tried to take him when he left the hospital.It was horrible, and unbelievable on the states behlf and the doctor who recommended he be taken out of the home.I am telling you this because I don't want it to happen to you or anyone else.After all this happened he got his leg stuck again,so did his baby brother.Those other times did not end with injuries,thank goodness.His mother had put bumers in both cribs for the boys, but they would stick their legs above the bumpers.When I had my child, I found that they had come out with a new type of bumper. It is breathable so if your baby leans his face against it, there isn't the risk of suffocation.It's a bit taller than most and is attatched with velcro for a secure fit and without the dangers of ties. I purchased mine from www.onestepahead.com I hope this helps. I realized i rambled a bit but 5 yrs later I still can not believe a peditrician and the state would be so irresponsible as to remove a precious baby from a perfectly safe home, especially when he needed the comfort of mommy and daddy the most.And just to be clear,the state from the very beginning could not find any reason not to return my nephew to his parents.They dragged it out, I beleive because they wanted to be right but knew they were sooo wrong.Just our tax dollars "hard at work"

Hi H.,
I use breathable bumpers. They are great! Babies R Us sells them. They are made of a mesh-type material. So she can breath through them but they also keep her limbs from getting stuck.

I'm in the same troublesome spot! My little guy gets stuck up to his thighs on a regular basis and it's making us all crazy! Unfortunately, our bumper doesn't help - he can still get his feet under it and through the rails. I'm not up for the expense of the mesh liner as I'm sure that this phase will pass so DH is about to cut a piece of heavy cardboard the same size as the full crib side (crib is in a nook so three sides of it aren't a problem). I'm planning to cover it with a piece of fabric to cover any cut sides and firmly attaching it to the inside of the crib. He won't be able to see through it but then with the crib bumper he couldn't see out either. I hope it works!

I put them in my son's crib, but i stuffed the majority of it between the matress and the crib rail. As my son got older, and I could trust him a little bit more I pulled a little bit more of the bumper up. Now I find him with his foot on top of the bumper up against the rail.

Hope this helps.

They have some at babies r us that are mesh and breathable.


We did away with our crib bumpers entirely for those reasons too. I opted not to use the mesh ones & just wing it. My baby's 13 months now and I've never put them back in either. Perhaps you could try a sleep sack or swaddler from Halo. Their swaddling is AMAZING - can't say enough good things about it. I give it for all my shower gifts now, I loved it so much. I couldn't have made it through the first six months of infancy without it. My little girl would throw a fit if I tried to put her down without it. It made her sleep so much better, and when she was a few months older & wasn't in the mood for swaddling, we used the sleep sack version specifically to keep her legs out of the bars. They even have sleep sacks with swadling over the arms too for the older babies. These were very convenient & they worked very well. She slept in one until she was about 9 or 10 mos. old. Here's a link to the Babies R Us page where you can see what I'm talking about/get one online if you like the idea: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=232951.... The sleep sacks are a little warm, so you'll want to look for a cotton one (rather than fleece) if you're not running the air during the warm summer nights!

Good luck!

R. J.

Hi H.,
I am a mom of a beautiful baby girl and have had a bumper in her crib since she has been in it. She too rolls all around and seems to prefer to sleep with her head crammed in the corner...so I can't imagine not having it there. I can also relate to getting up twice a night to breast feed. I did that until about a month ago...then my husband and I decided that was enough. I know she wasn't really hungry, but she would wake up eat really quickly and then go back to sleep. If your son in anything like that it may be worth trying to go cold turkey. We did and the first night she woke and fussed for probably a half hour total (not wailing...just fussing), the second night was maybe 10 minutes then the third night she slept all the way through. Who knows, maybe it would work for you as well...I must say I feel much better now that I am getting a full night sleep.
Good luck!!

I have 8 month old triplets and I have breathable mesh bumpers in all three cribs. I bought them at Babies R Us. If you have a slotted crib these will work great. If you have solid piece head board I heard they may not work. Anyway, they were around $25. I love them. Hope that helps.

We have a crib tent that we've been using since my son was about 10 months old. (He's 18 months now.) Before that we used a bumper from day one (he slept in his crib straight home from the hospital) and we never had an issue. I spoke to my pediatrician about it when my son was about 6 months old and he said the bumpers aren't recommended for newborns, but once babies can pick up their heads and roll around (and can lift their head from the bumper if they end up in a corner), then bumpers are okay for keeping the limbs from getting stuck. He said once babies are older, they might use the bumpers to help them climb out of the crib, so you wouldn't want to keep them in at that point. Hope this helps.

I was told that typical bumpers were never ok, but I instead used a breathable bumper, which they sell at Babies' R Us. It looks like ping pong netting, but it's stretchy and attaches with very strong velcro. This will help your little guys from getting caught in the bars.

Bumpers are not suggested at all unless you get the "breathable type". I used them for my son and he was always fine but I was losing sleep afraid he may suffocate. I finally took them out a few months ago due to him now walking & afraid he may try to climb out using the bumpers to hoist himself out.
It took a few day to a week for him to get used to not having them (bumping his head, getting is feet/legs stuck) but finally he got used to them not being there and he no longer has those problems and sleeps great. I have another on the way and I am not even going to put the bumpers in or may consider the "breathable" kind. But seriously just don't even put them in and he will get used to it and be just fine!

I started using bumpers as soon as my son was turning in his crib and his arms and legs were getting caught between the bars. I got a simple set for about $60 at target that was on sale. He is now 10 months old and I still use them

Hi H. - I used crib bumpers with all of my kids right away when they started using their cribs at about 4 -6 months old. I never had a problem with them b/c they are already rolling around at that point. My 2 year old still has it on his toddler bed b/c it was part of his crib.

I still use the crib bumpers and my son is one year old! He loves cuddling up and once they can move on their own if something is over their face or suffocating them they will move out of the way-esp once the risk of SIDS has gone down...so I would put them back if thats what you feel you need to do! My son doesnt even try to climb out yet-knock on wood-which is the other reason they say to take them out! I couldnt imagine making him sleep against the hard wood esp the way he likes to cuddle!

Go ahead and put the bumpers on. If your son is moving about the crib, they shouldn't be a bother to you, and will maybe help you get some sleep. Your son is old enough to be sleeping through the night now, so try and get him down to only one feeding at night. After a few weeks, eliminate that one too. It's hard, I know. My son didn't sleep through the night until he was 11 months old. He's a great sleeper now though!

I don't think bumpers are the best idea in that babies can suffocate. The chances are so rare, but it wouldn't risk it. I would use the mess breathable kind in your situation.

Also, maybe there's a way for you and him to get more sleep. I think twice a night is still a lot. (I breastfed both of my babies too). Have you started cereal? How is the temperature in his room? Did you start a bedtime routine? How is napping during the day? These are things that can influence nighttime sleep. There are many, many, many posts on mamasource with moms asking for sleeping tips. On the "requests and responses" link, go to the pink bar on the left and select "newborns and infants"...then drag down to sleep. There are loads of posts and tips there.

Good luck...H. to H..

We had our little guy sleep in the pack and play from when he was 5 to when he was 17 months old, it worked great. He has a crib bumper now and it's not that effective, because he likes to pull on it and in ends up squishing down around the mattress - bleh. We had lots of sleep interruptions until he was about 15 months old, he's now two years and three months and I've almost forgotten how miserable that was!

I haven't had any problems w/ our bumpers and they've been in our daughter's crib since she was 3 mo. old. I think it depends on your child. She didn't move around very much early on- always stayed on her back- I never even found her close to the bumpers or in any position that worried me. The one time we put her in a crib without them I found her w/ her legs hanging out which worried me more than the bumpers ever did!

You might want to try a breathable crib shield or crib bumper - here are a couple to look into:



I haven't tried them, but they might help. You might want to read through reviews, though, because it sounds like they come with their own problems.

Also, My 6mo was doing the same thing for a few days (I don't have a bumper in his crib) but has since stopped.

Good luck, sleep deprivation is no fun.

We use regular bumpers without incident, but I know they sell "breathable" bumpers that are meshlike. (search "breathable bumper" on babiesrus.com) It is enough to keep the pacifiers, feet and legs in, but nothing to suffocate on.
I sympathize with you on lack of sleep. It really makes everything so hard!

I would have your husband cut paneling or a similar material and line the crib with it. That way it is solid and you do not have the problem.

My son has had bumpers and a blanket in his crib since day one. I know, bad mommy. The whole point in bumpers is so they don't get limbs stuck in the slats. Now that your son is six months old, the risk of SIDS is GREATLY decreased. As long as he can roll over and turn his head, he should be fine. If you are worried about suffocation, there are breathable bumpers made of a mesh material. And, they collaps down if baby tries to climb on them, so no risk of using them to climb out of the crib. I've only been able to find them at Babies R Us, but I'm sure you could find them online also. Hope this helps.

Try breathable bumpers. They did wonders for keeping arms and legs in the crib. You can breath right through the material and they don't bulk up so they can't be used to escape the crib. Babies r us or one step ahead has them.

God bless you..the sleep deprivation is the worst...my son would hit his head on the crib slats and cry so I put his bumper pads back on against medical advice I guess and he sleeps "like a baby" Follow your gut!

My daughter is 6 months and 3 weeks old, and we have always used crib bumpers b/c she often put her feet/legs through the crib bars. Our pediatrician said that the risk of her hurting herself or getting stuck with her feet in the bars was greater than the risk of SIDS (our daughter's neck has always been very strong). I would suggest asking your pediatrician b/f putting the bumper in.

I have two children and never thought twice about using bumpers in my crib. I understand that being a first time mom you seem to worry about every little study that they come out with but you and your baby need your sleep. If you want reassurance that your baby is not going to roll over and end up face first into the bumper then buy one of those wedges that prevent him from rolling over during the night.
Good luck.

I just took my daughter's bumpers out and she is over 2 years. I had the same problem and it solved it.

If your baby can roll, I don't think the bumpers are a suffocation hazard-- he can move away from them, unlike a newborn. However, I didn't use bumpers because I heard the baby can use them to step on and flip out of the crib. Some companies, like One Step Ahead, make mesh borders that work like a bumper to keep out hands and feet, but the baby can breathe through them.

H., We are having the same trouble with our 10 mo. old grandson. He has the soft clothlike bumper pads but he puts his legs up in the air and then through the bars/ He tends to get himself caught by the ankles. I don't know if bumper pads help or not, but I dont think it would hurt. I think a 6 mo. old is plenty old enough to roll over and get his face out of a dangerous situation. God luck and God bless. L. L.


I have heard you can also put the bumpers on the outside of the crib, but I am not sure if a leg would be able to get under it. Might be worth a try so you don't have to buy something else. And if he sleeps in the pack in play, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't use that.

I will also say that of course every baby is different, but it seems like he might be ready to go longer stretches at night before getting up. If he isn't eating much at these times it might be more about comfort, than being hungry and maybe you could try just picking him up to soothe him and putting him down when he is calm. Do that for a few nights and he may be able to sleep through at least one of those periods. Also, I don't know when you feed him before bed, but you might want to try cluster feeding before you put him down. I know several moms that have done this and it has worked well for them (I think it is what the book "The baby whisperer" promotes for getting kids to sleep through the night.

Remember, if you aren't getting enough sleep, then you won't be able to give him the best care you can. So I don't feel like it is selfish to make sure you are well rested.

I hope you find a good solution and are able to get some sleep!


H. ,
You"re not alone! I have contemplated with that question back and forth too many times before I decided to keep the bumpers in the crib. I did a trial test and took the bumpers out o f the crib for the same reasons you had, only to find out that she was waking up more often because her arms or feet would be stuck in between the post of the crib. Next night, the bumpers were back in the crib and she slept soundly. My 8 month old girl is very active in her crib. She moves around alot and she doesn't sleep in one spot for the night. I think its a matter of being comfortable with her in the crib. I just put her in the crib when she turned 5 months old, she was sleeping in our room in her own little bassinet. I bought myself a vidieo camera so that I can see and hear her from my room without getting up . I had more piece of mind with the bumper in the crib and vidieo camera . Hope this helped !


I used the breathable bumpers all the way until my son was more than a year -- no SIDS issues and it prevented foot/bar issues. We never had any problems with them, and I plan to use it again for baby number 2, due any day now!

Hi H.,
My son turned 2 in May and I STILL have his crib bumpers in place! I was ready to remove them once he started stepping on them to facillitate escape...but it hasn't happened yet. I guess I'm lucky in that respect.
I know they help keep him from getting his feet caught, not to mention banging his head into the wooden slats. So far, so good!
Good luck with the sleeping - it will get better!

Congrats on your baby. When my twins (who are now 4) were infants, I had bumper pads on until they started to use them to as a ladder to climb out (at 21 months). They did just fine with the bumper pads.

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