A large US study released this week states that nearly 10,000 babies and toddlers are seriously injured in cribs, bassinets and playpens per year. The study took 19 years to complete and the researchers found that cribs accounted for 83 percent of the injuries and that falls were responsible for two-thirds of the incidents.
I totally get this. My daughter was in a bassinet part time until at about five months she started standing, then we moved her into a travel cot. She started holding on to the bars, and climbing her feet up till they met her hands and hanging there, which to me looked like an easy way to obtain an injury. We tried to move her into a 'big bed' but that didn't work and she ended up in bed with us, and we've been co-sleeping full time ever since.
This study makes me really relieved that we made that decision. Here are some stats from the study:
- One in five injuries is a head injury such as a concussion that did not break the skin.
- 26 children go to the emergency room in the US every day due to cot injuries
- 110 deaths occur in cots every year – only (a still tragic) 5.5% of which happened because a child was stuck between the crib bars.
Additionally, according to a New York Times article on cot safety (as well as other regulations on baby sleep items – it's actually a good article, worth a read), more than 10 million cots have been recalled since 2007. And the FDA have recently recommended that parents stop using sleep positioners due to suffocation risk too.
Personally, I'm glad we made the choices we did, but the bottom line is that as parents we need to be aware and alert. There's a reason 'they' recommend that babies sleep in their parent's room for the first six months – so we can keep an eye on them personally (some baby monitors have also had a warning attached).
I've tried to find details on a similar study in the UK, but either there hasn't been one, or there isn't public research. Either way it might be time to let consumers know the stats here too – and hopefully the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 will impact our children's safety too.