Friday, May 27, 2011

Should Maryland ban the sale of crib bumper pads?

As reported this week in the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is considering an expert panel’s recommendation that Maryland become the first state to ban the sale of bumper pads for baby cribs. Bumper pads, used to line the inside of a crib, can be health risk and have been involved in at least 2 dozen infant deaths across the nation.

An interesting finding from the panel was that research does not show any safety benefits of crib bumpers (that is to say they do not prevent serious head injuries as marketed) and that they can in fact be hazardous. Infants can get caught in the bumpers ties and can suffocate.

I commend the Secretary for addressing this issue and encourage him to accept the panel’s recommendation banning the sale of bumper pads in Maryland. Even one death due to an unsafe sleep environment is one too many, and in Baltimore City last year, 16 babies died in unsafe sleeping environments. Most of these deaths involved babies who were not in a crib (they were in an adult bed, with or without parents or siblings) and were not sleeping on their backs.

It is important for our citizens to understand how to put a baby to sleep safely. Babies need to be Alone, on their Back, in a safe Crib free of bumpers and other items. No Exceptions. More information on this important topic can be found on our B’more for Healthy Babies Website.

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