Several times throughout my pregnancy, those from older generations made comments to me about how much pregnancy and child rearing has changed since they did it. Pregnant women having to avoid soft cheeses, cold cuts, and small amounts of alcohol didn’t seem to be as big of a deal then as it is today. Maybe the internet is to blame, or rather, credit. There is so much information at our fingertips that we now know better, in most cases, than those who came before us did. We can look up what happens when an expecting mother eats a piece of sushi, and instantly we have the worst case scenario popping up on our screens to discourage us from taking the risk.
However, nobody can follow every seemingly legitimate recommended behavior on the internet 100% of the time. As often as I heard someone older than me explain how they didn’t worry about this or that while pregnant, there was also a mother closer to my own age telling how she followed all of the generally accepted “pregnancy advice,” except for dying her hair….or eating club sandwiches…or having a glass of wine on Friday afternoons. For as many rules as there seems to be, there often appears to be even more parents of the responsible and respectable sort breaking said rules.
I was prepared to see this trend continue once I had my daughter. Of course safety has improved over the years in regards to what children should and shouldn’t eat, wear, play with, sleep in, put in their mouths, listen to, watch, etc, etc, etc… I mean, the thought of wearing a helmet to ride my bike down the street never occurred to my ten-year-old self, but today, it’s a given.
I was unprepared, however, by how much is now deemed unsafe for children. I was shocked to learn while planning my little girl’s nursery that, nope, my Pottery Barn Gold Dot Bedding Set would not look like the picture in the catalog because crib bumpers are now deemed unsafe by the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to AAP.org, “Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.” Doing my best to protect my little one, I followed AAP’s recommendation and forwent the bumper pad.
Except that bumper pads do serve a purpose, and this is one rule I’m tempted to break. Now that my girl has transitioned from the swaddle and Fisher Price Rock’n’Play to a sleep sack in her crib (Hallelujah!), I’ve walked in her room on more than one occasion to her screaming because one or more limbs is stuck hanging out between the slats of the crib. In an effort to remedy this problem, I bought some of the supposedly safe breathable crib bumpers, only to find that her arms and legs still managed to get out and, by the way, breathable crib bumpers actually aren’t approved either. Go figure.
All throughout life, we are taught to take chances within reasonable and safe limits, and learning what lines to cross and which to respect are something everyone struggles with at one time or another. However, that struggle means so much more when it is our children’s safety in consideration, as opposed to our own. I’ve only had a small dose of the dilemmas to come about what rules, advice, and guidelines to follow and which to bend or ignore when it comes to my daughter, and my head is already swimming. Veteran moms, I know you’re sitting out there shaking your heads and saying, “you just wait,” and I know you’re right.
So mommies, what is your opinion on crib bumpers? And what about baby walkers? What other parenting practices, behaviors, toys, or other items were once popular but now on the “unsafe list,” and do you continue using them anyway?