Can My 6-Month-Old Use Crib Bumper Pads?
To many parents, crib bumper pads are adorable. They look pretty in the crib, and they help both parents and children to feel safe. However, the use of crib bumper pads in a 6-month-old baby's crib might not necessarily the best thing for your baby. Some argue that crib bumper pads shouldn't be used at 6 months old or at any other age.
You baby at 6 Months
At 6 months old, your baby is becoming far more mobile than ever before. She's likely able to roll over in both directions from her back and her stomach, and she's learning how to sit up unsupported. Since she's moving around so much and may come in contact with the sides of her crib, you might consider crib bumper pads as a possible aid for her.
Definition of Crib Bumper Pads
Crib bumper pads are padded pieces surrounded by cloth that rest on the inside of your baby's crib, just above the mattress. The bumper is actually a long piece of material that ties around the slats of your baby's crib. Crib bumper pads are somewhat controversial, and they have their fair share of supporters and detractors.
Benefits of Crib Bumper Pads
The biggest benefit of crib bumper pads is that they keep your baby safe while he moves around his crib. Bumpers cushion your baby if he accidentally rolls into the side of the crib, and they can also keep him from getting body parts stuck between the slats of the crib. These are major concerns when your baby is 6 months old. Many parents also like the cosmetic appearance of crib bumper pads, particularly in conjunction with a bedding set.
When to Remove Crib Bumper Pads
The use, and subsequent removal, of crib bumper pads is solely up to you. If you feel crib bumper pads are safe, they can be used when your baby is 6 months old and beyond. However, when he's able to pull himself up to stand, the bumpers must be removed, as he can use the crib bumper pads as an aid in trying to climb out of the crib. This usually does not occur until your baby is at least 8 months old.
I kept the bumpers on my crib until my daughter was well over a year old. The reason? She still liked to sleep pushed up against the corners (she also liked to sleep with a pillow, go figure). I had knotted the bumper ties, so there wasn't any chance of her untying them and getting into trouble. I think keeping the bumper in just made the crib a more cozy place for her. A lot of the advice you get from the baby books are more general guidelines and less hard and fast rules. Just take into account what kind of baby you have (mellow/active/determined to escape the crib, etc.) and go from there.
To the parent concerned about removing the crib bumper pads for their 6 month old -- Having not read the Kaiser handout to which you referred, I cannot comment on their reasoning. However, I did not remove the bumpers from our child's crib until she was almost 2 years old. She is quite active while she sleeps, and was forever bumping her head/arms/legs on the sides of the crib -- fortunately she didn't get 'stuck', but on occasion she would hit the side hard enough to wake her up (and bruise!). The biggest reason I removed the bumpers was because she was using them to assist in climbing out of the crib (she's small for her age, so with the mattress on the lowest level, she had to really hoist herself to get up and out... the crib bumper pads gave her a BIG assist.).
I too had read that the crib bumper pads should be removed at 6 mos. It didn't make sense to have crib bumper pads when your child doesn't move at all and could not possibly sustain injury. Why remove them when they are rolling around and start bumping their heads on the sides of the crib.