The United States Congress and President Biden enacted the Safe Sleep for Babies Act on May 16, 2022. In addition to removing hazardous padded crib bumpers from the market, the Act recognizes that non-padded mesh crib liners are not crib bumpers by excluding “a non-padded mesh crib liner” from the definition of crib bumper.
What makes non-padded mesh liners as a category different from padded crib bumpers?
Non-padded mesh liners are different from padded crib bumpers in both how they are constructed and their track record of safety. Specifically, non-padded mesh liners are made of a single layer of mesh, are thin, and are highly permeable. Padded crib bumpers are made of multiple layers of different fabrics, are thick, and can cause suffocation.
And most importantly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency responsible for product safety in the United States, found that over the course of nearly twenty years non-padded mesh liners had zero (0) fatal incidents on record while crib bumpers were found to have 113 fatal incidents.
What makes BreathableBaby’s mesh liners safer than padded crib bumpers?
They are constructed of a single layer of our patented breathable mesh. A single layer of mesh is the safest construction to help prevent limb entrapment while mitigating the risk of carbon dioxide rebreathing, a phenomenon that has been characterized experimentally in literature and suspected to be a contributor to accidental suffocation. Multiple layers of fabric wrapped around fiber fill as found in padded bumpers, even if one layer is mesh like some previously marketed “breathable bumpers,” can trap exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2). Research published in BMJ Paediatrics, a UK journal dedicated to children’s health, concluded that rebreathing values vary widely in padded bumper products. The same study indicated mesh liners generate rebreathing results similar to an infant sucking a pacifier or breastfeeding under a receiving blanket. While experts have not concluded what the maximum level of CO2 rebreathing is to be considered safe, products that may be prone to store CO2 – like padded bumpers, pillows, or stuffed animals – should not be placed in the sleep environment. Our breathable mesh is based on years of medical and scientific research and produced to exacting standards by select highly qualified fabric mills. We have a short list of qualified proprietary mesh designs and do not accept alternatives.
They are thin. Our mesh liners range from 2 to 5 mm thick to mitigate the risks of suffocation associated with padded bumpers. They are constructed to mitigate the risk of the fabric forming a seal around the infant’s nose and mouth to create a suffocation hazard while not being too thin where they are prone to sagging. Our AirflowBaby liners are 2 mm thick and offer an affordable price point. Our Classic liners are 3 mm thick and are available in the broadest array of colors and styles. And our fashion-forward Deluxe liners are 5 mm thick and provide a bit more “cushion” to help protect against bumps and bruises, while not being dangerously thick like padded bumpers.
They are highly permeable. High permeability helps exhaled air pass through the fabric and escape the environment which helps reduce the risk of carbon dioxide rebreathing. When our Classic mesh liners were tested by an independent product testing firm, using ASTM D737 Standard Test Method for Air Permeability of Textile Fabrics, they were 25 times more permeable to air than the average of a sample of 10 padded bumpers. Based on infant inhale/exhale rates and lung capacity, for unobstructed breathing, calculations indicate mesh liners should have an airflow of >300 cubic feet per minute (“cfm”), as measured by ASTM D737 Standard Test Method for Air Permeability of Textile Fabrics. Our mesh liners are constructed to have no less than 700 cfm and because they are constructed of three-dimensional homogenous mesh, air passes freely through the fabric and makes them highly “breathable.”
They secure safely with extra strength attachments. Our liners are tested to meet or exceed ASTM F1917 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Infant Bedding and Related Accessories and including the “attachment means” requirement. To ensure the safety of ties, ASTM F1917 requires them to be less than 9″ in length and permanently affixed with seams. Additionally, F1917 requires pull tests on the tie seams so that they do not come loose and pose a risk of strangulation, choking, or suffocation. We triple-stitch our ties for extra protection. This makes our mesh liners twice as strong as the F1917 safety standard requires. And, for mesh liners compliant with BS 1877 and BS EN 16780, ties are modified to be sewn in two parts as required by those standards. Where crib and cot styles allow, designs also include our proprietary No-Gap Wrap along with additional hook and loop attachment means. The placement of the attachment means and sheer number of attachments help prevent the risk of strangulation and entanglement. In fact, a mesh liner has less risk of coming loose and creating an entanglement hazard than a fitted crib sheet coming completely loose from a mattress.
They are independently tested for safety by CPSC-accepted third party testing labs. Testing by independent accredited testing laboratories confirm that our mesh liners designed for US crib styles meet or exceed ASTM F1917 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Infant Bedding and Related Accessories. Our mesh liners designed for international cot and crib styles are adapted to meet or exceed British Standard 1877 Part 10 Specification for mattresses and bumpers for children’s cots, perambulators and similar domestic articles and British Standard EN 16780 Textile child care articles – Safety requirements and test methods for children’s cot bumpers. Testing to these standards help mitigate risks associated with bedding including but not limited to suffocation, strangulation, and entanglement.
What do parents and caregivers say about limb entrapment and BreathableBaby’s mesh liners?
Parents and caregivers want a solution to prevent limb entrapment. A 2015 survey of over 1,000 mothers across the U.S. with infants ranging from 6 to 12 months old confirmed that 74.4% used padded crib bumpers or mesh liners, and over 50% of these mothers reported that they used them to prevent arms/legs from getting stuck between slats.
A 2019 study led by Dr. NJ Scheers of moms with children under 24 months indicated 37% of moms reported entrapment and 90% of moms who used a bumper or liner did so in order to prevent slat entrapment.
Additionally, parent’s satisfaction with BreathableBaby’s mesh liners speaks for itself looking at comments and ratings on retailer websites. And we receive accolades when parents struggle with installation, or a liner isn’t staying put on their specific crib, and they contact our customer care team for help. We offer guided installation due to the sheer number of crib/cot styles in the market and are sometimes surprised by new or heritage pieces in our customers’ homes.
What do key experts say about mesh liners versus traditional bumpers?
A 2015 Journal of Pediatrics article called for the regulation of traditional crib bumpers and differentiated those products from mesh crib liners. The authors stated: “Nontraditional bumper designs seem to mitigate some of the problems found with traditional crib bumpers. Mesh bumpers [sic] are breathable and thin and may reduce the likelihood of slat entrapments and climb outs.”
In a 2016 paper addressing Policy Implications of Selling and Using Padded Crib Bumpers, the CPSC’s Dr. Jonathan Midgett, stated “Actively prohibiting the use of crib bumpers without some alternative may cause some consumers experiencing repeated limb entrapments to resort to makeshift bumpers such as using rolled-up blankets, pillows or other cushions. But, if the Commission were to regulate bumpers in such a manner that allowed for mesh liners or other designs with high levels of airflow, as was done in Maryland and Chicago, the market would retain a product that prevents limb entrapments.”
In an article published in Maternal and Child Health Journal in 2019, Drs. Scheers and Thach (as well as Drs. Chauncey Dayton and Mary Batcher) concluded that, while bumpers remain a significant safety risk, there is no similar evidence showing mesh liners are dangerous to sleeping infants.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in April 2020, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) reported 113 fatalities associated with crib bumpers, which were reported to have occurred between January 1, 1990 and March 31, 2019. Zero (0) fatalities were reported for mesh liners.
Between 2019 and 2021, U.S. lawmakers proposed bans on crib bumpers and excluded non-padded mesh liners from the definition due to their distinction as a separate category. And in 2022, the Safe Sleep for Babies Act was enacted finalizing this distinction.
What should consumers consider before purchasing a mesh liner?
We urge consumers to do the necessary homework before purchasing mesh liners to confirm they are compliant with ASTM F1917 (or other territory-specific standards). And they should confirm the mesh liner was designed to specifically fit their crib or cot by reviewing the dimensions and style the mesh liner was designed for. Caregivers should never use a mesh liner on a crib/cot style that it is not intended for.
Parents should avoid secondhand mesh liners from unknown parties as they cannot be confirmed to be in compliance with the most recent test methods. Age, washing methods, and a number of factors can affect their durability and performance. New infant products are always the safest choice.
If a crib or cot style is extremely unique, contact the manufacturer to ensure the mesh liner fits and is installed correctly. Reputable mesh liner manufacturers have customer support teams and can help ensure their product is installed correctly on the specific crib or cot style. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to help (whether our mesh liner or not).
Why do some people say mesh liners aren’t safe?
Individuals that opine that mesh liners are unsafe are confusing mesh liners with padded bumpers, unaware of the definition of “crib bumper” in the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, or sharing personal opinion not based on substantive evidence nor subject matter expertise.
Some individuals have stated that 13% of crib bumper injuries were caused by mesh liners. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in April 2020, zero (0) fatal incidents were attributed to mesh liners over nearly twenty years. The NPR reported 15 of 113 nonfatal “incidents and concerns” reportedly involved a breathable bumper or mesh liner. Some parties have quoted this statistic without further research and not understanding that this data represents “incidents and concerns” and not “injuries” reported. In fact, detailed review of the fifteen reports confirmed eight involved children with entrapment injuries while using a mesh liner. Several of these incidents noted bruising from the crib — not an injury resulting from the mesh liner. Two involved red marks as a result of repeated rubbing against the mesh liner, further confirming safety and breathability of the mesh liner when an infant pressed up against it. The remaining comments were not injuries sustained from a mesh liner. As an example, one was a comment related to odor and one was related to mesh used in a play yard.
There is no evidence that mesh liners are unsafe and, to the contrary, there is significant evidence supporting the safety of mesh liners.
What are some myths about BreathableBaby’s mesh liners?
Myth: BreathableBaby’s mesh liners present a risk of suffocation.
Fact: Our breathable mesh is designed to address the two types of accidental suffocation, one which occurs through obstructive breathing and the other which occurs with carbon dioxide rebreathing. Our breathable mesh is highly permeable as defined by ASTM D737 Standard Test Method for Air Permeability of Textile Fabrics to minimize risk of obstructive breathing and to help ensure sufficient airflow if occlusion occurs. The permeable mesh body varies by design but is never less than 7.5” tall. This body portion is topped by trim which measures less than 2” on top and 1” on bottom, and the liner is designed such that the bottom trim is installed below the plane of the mattress. In addition to minimizing occlusion risk and thus obstructive breathing, our mesh liners do not contribute to unsafe levels of carbon dioxide. A peer-reviewed and published study published in BMJ Paediatrics by Dr. Matt Maltese and Mike Leshner, PE, found our mesh liners present no more CO2 rebreathing than an infant sucking on a pacifier or breastfeeding. Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency responsible for product safety, researched padded crib bumpers and mesh liners and found no evidence supporting this myth.
Myth: BreathableBaby’s mesh liners present a risk of strangulation and/or entanglement.
Fact: Our liners designed for US crib styles are tested to meet or exceed ASTM F1917 Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Infant Bedding and Related Accessories and including the “attachment means” requirement. To ensure the safety of ties, ASTM F1917 requires them to be less than 9″ in length and permanently affixed with seams. Additionally, F1917 requires pull tests on the tie seams so that they do not come loose and pose a risk of strangulation, choking, or suffocation. The placement of the attachment means and sheer number of attachments help prevent the risk of strangulation and entanglement. In fact, a mesh liner has less risk of coming loose and creating an entanglement hazard than a fitted crib sheet coming completely loose from a mattress.
Myth: BreathableBaby’s mesh liners may help a child climb out and fall.
Fact: A climb out study by Mike Leshner, PE, and Dr. Matt Maltese concluded that our mesh liners collapse and provide minimal lift to aid in climb out. Most notably they found that our compressed mesh liner would be below or partially below the plane of the mattress, which sides also compress when stepped on. As a child’s weight increased, the compression increased; thus, reducing the risk of climb out. In a 2019 peer reviewed and published study, Dr. NJ Scheers concluded that details were lacking as to how children climbed out other than simple dexterity. In fact, the study found no difference in climb out rates for between crib bumper users, mesh liner users, and users with no barriers. Said differently, climb-out may be more closely related to an attribute of the child such as height or weight than the use of a mesh liner.