Despite warnings from groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Health, infant deaths related to padded crib bumpers may have tripled in recent years, Stat reports. A study published Tuesday in the Journal of Pediatrics used data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify 23 bumper-related deaths between 2006 and 2012. That's up from an average of eight during every previous seven-year period starting in 1985, according to Reuters. And it could still be a massive underreporting. "Despite this nationwide publicity…deaths have not decreased, likely because bumpers remain widely available in the marketplace, media articles commonly show cribs with bumpers, and parents often believe bumpers are necessary for comfort and safety," Reuters quotes the study.
Stat reports the padded crib bumpers intended to keep babies safe can actually cover their noses and mouths, leading to suffocation. And Reuters notes the American Academy of Pediatrics has found no proof they actually work. According to the study, it's not clear whether bumper-related deaths are actually increasing or just being reported more. Regardless, the study's authors hope their research will lead to a bumper ban. “Until we get them off of all the store shelves, we’re going to keep seeing these deaths," a child-safety advocate tells Stat. Bumpers are currently banned in Maryland and Chicago, and some Target and Ikea stores have stopped selling them. Bumper manufacturers maintain their product is safe as long as instructions are followed.