SPRINGFIELD–A push to ban the statewide sale of potentially dangerous baby bumpers, a common piece of bedding that attaches to the rails of cribs, passed the House Tuesday despite GOP criticism of the plan as a “well-intended mistake.”
Rep. Emily McAsey, D-Lockport, made a move to outlaw the sale or leasing of crib bumper pads in the state. Under her legislation, House Bill 5348, those who defy the ban could be fined between $100 and $500.
“This legislation bans the thick padded bumpers, the ones that have been linked by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups—Kids in Danger, SIDS—to child death,” McAsey said.
Her measure got through the House on a 64-46 roll call, now moves to the Senate and is patterned after a 2011 ordinance passed by the City Council, which made Chicago the first city in the country to prohibit the sale of crib bumpers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released guidelines in 2011 that said crib bumpers carry the risk of potentially suffocating, strangling or entrapping infants, who may lack the ability to turn their heads when something blocks their breathing.
“That’s the exact reason why this ban is so important: to make sure this dangerous product, that doesn’t have any real purpose, is not there to cause these injuries and fatalities,” McAsey said.
But Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, said bill is a “well-intended mistake,” and that there are bumpers that can be purchased and have been deemed safe, if used properly.
“Surprise, products can be misused in almost every measure,” Sandack said. “We don’t go banning products because of what they might do if they’re misused. That leads to a series of poor consequences.”
Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, went even further in her criticism, asking where this line of reasoning would end: banning stuffed animals, banning blankets?
“I don’t know how my five kids survived,” Ives said. “We had bumper pads. We ride bikes without helmets, and we have a trampoline in the backyard. At some point, it becomes the parents’ responsibility to follow a doctor’s advice and to decide for themselves what they’re going to do with their children.”
Nevertheless, Rep. Sandra Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn, said the bill was necessary in light of the consequences of keeping the product on the market.
“We need to provide these further protections,” Pihos said. “For parents who have lost a child, generally it is, ‘If I only had known.’ They lose these children because they were naïve in their knowledge on any particular subject matter.”