The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill banning baby crib bumpers on Tuesday.
The lower legislative chamber passed House Bill 3761 by a vote of 63-48 after rancorous debate, reports The State-Journal Register, the state capital’s main newspaper.
The bill was introduced by Emily McCasey, a Democrat from the Chicago suburbs. It makes the sale and manufacture of any solid padding for the inside of baby cribs illegal. Mesh padding is excepted.
“In order to protect our infants, this is an important step forward to get this dangerous product that has been linked to dozens of deaths off the market in the state of Illinois,” McCasey declared, according to the Register.
The lawmaker also cited evidence that crib bumper pads can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Hostility to McCasey’s bill was strong. The fiercest opponent was Rita Mayfield, another Democrat from another Chicago suburb, Waukegan.
Mayfield said McCasey’s evidence fails to hold up under scrutiny.
“There was not one case that was directly attributed to a bumper pad, but in many cases, the child wasn’t even touching it,” Mayfield observed, according to the Springfield newspaper. “How can you blame a bumper pad if the child isn’t even touching it?”
Rep. Mayfield championed her own bill, which would regulate crib bumper sales in Illinois without banning them outright.
“Why would you take away business and put people out of jobs?” she asked. “It makes no sense at all.”
Mayfield’s bill has also passed the House, by a vote of 64-49.
The sale of baby crib bumpers is already banned in the city of Chicago, though residents can easily purchase the contraband just outside the city limits.
Consumer Reports has included crib bumpers among its “13 dangerous baby products to avoid,” noting that The Journal of Pediatrics has assigned 27 infant deaths to the fabric strips designed to keep babies from hitting their heads on crib slats.
Consumer Reports also warns parents of infants against blankets, pillows, bedside sleepers, sling carriers, walkers for babies, infant bath seats and the dreaded bumbo seats.
These products remain legal in Illinois. For now.