The nation's first statewide ban on the sale of crib bumper pads is taking effect in Maryland this week, the state's health department said Thursday.
The ban begins Friday and was adopted in November after 18 months of expert and public consultation, the health department said.
"Pediatricians in Maryland support the new ban on the sale of crib bumpers. Far too often in our state, healthy infants are dying in unsafe sleep positions," said Dr. Scott Krugman, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Health officials say crib bumper pads offer no meaningful benefit and pose potentially serious risks to infants, including suffocation.
The ban is part of an ongoing public health effort to educate parents about safe sleep practices for babies. Health officials say the key message of the effort is that babies sleep best alone, on their backs in a crib free of blankets, pillows, fluffy toys, crib bumpers or stuffed animals.
"The ban on the sale of crib bumpers promotes safer sleep for infants, and safer sleep will mean fewer tragedies for Maryland families," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the secretary of Maryland's health department.
The department notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health all advise against their use.
The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold. The ban doesn't apply to vertical bumpers that wrap tightly around each crib rail or mesh crib liners, but the health department doesn't endorse them.
Additional information about safe sleep and the crib bumper ban, as well as the fact sheet containing the new safe sleep data, can be found at: www.dhmh.maryland.gov/
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