Everything I read before and after Alex was born emphasized the importance of an empty crib to prevent SIDS: no blankets, no loose clothing, no loveys, etc. The material I read also said no crib bumpers, though I found almost every friend used them. I understood why people think bumpers are necessary after we stopped swaddling Alex and he migrated all over his crib in his sleep. I ended up with breathable mesh bumpers, which gave me more peace of mind than traditional bumpers would have. They weren’t pretty and they definitely didn’t match, but they got the job done (and were only in the crib for about three months anyway, from the time we stopped swaddling him until he could pull up).
It turns out crib bumpers might be even more dangerous than people generally think. According to the Baby Bargains blog, the JPMA, a trade organization that supposedly promotes safety, deliberately mislead the public about the CPSC‘s data on crib bumper safety by issuing a release stating that crib bumpers don’t cause deaths, which was in “‘direct contradiction’” to the CPSC’s data.
I think it’s pretty obvious that the safest crib is one that doesn’t have any bumpers. But I bet parents will still buy (and use) bumpers anyway.