Crib bumper ban challenged by lawmaker

Legislation pending in the General Assembly challenges new regulations to go into affect this summer that would ban decorative bumpers that line the inside of baby cribs.

The bill introduced by Sen. John C. Astle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, would allow crib bumpers that meet standards set up by The American Society for Testing and Materials.

The state ban takes affect June 21 and prohibits the sale of pads made of nonmesh material that rest on the crib mattress and run the circumference of the crib. It does not apply to mesh bumpers or those that wrap around crib rails.

The testing and materials society standards distinguish pillow-like crib bumpers, which some consider more hazardous, from more traditional models.

Under the state ban, retailers, including Internet sellers, would receive a warning for a first violation of the rule and a $500 fine for each baby bumper sold after that. The ban includes a plan to educate parents on safe sleeping practices, including removing blankets and other objects from the crib.

The ban was adopted after concern about bumpers, which have been found to suffocate and strangle babies. Older babies can use the bumpers to climb out of the crib and fall, studies have also found.  

The state's health agency spent 18 months studying a need for a ban.   

Manufacturers have argued that if used correctly crib bumpers are safe. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association said the bumpers can keep infants from bruising their heads and prevent entrapped limbs. The group supporst the testing and materials society standards.





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