New guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics last fall firmly stated that bumpers should not be used in infants’ cribs. Still, most companies continue to sell their crib bedding as sets, with bumpers included. Sigh. There are exceptions, of course. (Unison and Caden Lane are among the retailers who have moved to 2-piece bumper-less sets.) But generally speaking, unless you’re willing to buy the 3-piece set and have a seamstress convert the bumper into a window valance (as our VP of Advertising so brilliantly did), you might want to opt for one of these new bumper alternatives.

The fancy crib skirt
DwellStudio led the way this spring, as one of the first major crib bedding retailers to reinterpret their bumper patterns as fitted crib skirts ($58-$128). You get the same effect, design-wise, minus the suffocation hazard. Oilo is following suit (their patterned skirts will be available this summer), and Serena & Lily is also working on a new collection of graphic crib skirts for the upcoming seasons.

Skip Hop Complete Sheet
Skip Hop solved the problem by printing decorative, bumper-ish patterns on the sides of their crib sheets. Their new (as of December) Complete Sheet coordinates with the brand’s wearable blankets and ranges from $24 to $30 per sheet, at

Crib slat covers
For those of you with gobs of patience, companies like GoMamaGo Designs and Oliver B offer inventive ways to manually pad the slats individually, leaving plenty of breathing room for baby.