Before I jump into some of these alternatives, I’ll share some info on the evolution of safe sleep that I recently discussed at a workshop in our home state of Maine. This is in no way to advocate for any one product or choice, because as a father, I know the importance of supporting the needs of every child, and know that every family has their own needs.
Before cribs, the focus was not on the sleeping environment, but the actual sleeping structure. The first baby beds ever used were cradles or bassinets in the 19th century. These were raised off the ground to address concerns that noxious fumes existed below knee level and explosive vapors pooled near the ceiling. Iron bassinets were also popular in the later 19th century to address concerns of bed bug infestations, lice and moths. Wood cribs were later developed and painted white like iron predecessors, however, this was often lead paint, which was extremely toxic for babies[i]. Other crib modifications emerged in the 20th century, however created risks of their own such as fall hazards from drop-sides and footholds, and entrapment from wide slats. More modern solutions have included bed-side sleepers, play yards, and Finland’s ‘Baby in a Box’[ii].
From a product view, several companies in the past 10 years have successfully created alternatives which are growing in popularity and use among parents. These have been created out of the need to protect infants against the US’s annual 8,000 crib related injuries (40% of which affect the neck or head[iii]), and the growing concerns related to suffocation and CO2 re-breathing associated with traditional crib bumpers. Such alternatives include ‘breathable’ mesh which are made of single or multi-layered fabric to protect against entrapment in between the crib slats, ones that wrap along the rails to protect against impact with the hard wooden crib slats, and our product that supports all 5 safe sleeping features. As a testament to the safety advantages over traditional crib bumpers, alternatives like ours were exempt from the 2013 State of Maryland retail sale ban of traditional crib bumpers[iv].
Today the focus has shifted to enhanced testing standards and safe sleep awareness via American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and co-sleeping awareness campaigns. It’s also shifted to the creation and socialization of best practices including:
The evolution of safe sleep continues, and we’re thrilled to help lead it forward. Our Safe Sleep Brochure will be available in June for easy way sharing! And so I thank you for sharing with others our goal in creating safe sleeping for all our infants.
* Note: Products above in no way represent nor endorse Bitzy Baby. The images are used to represent the historical infant sleep changes in the last 100 years.