Gift cards offered in exchange for banned crib bumpers

Since state officials have discovered that crib bumpers pose a safety risk to infants in cribs, they have worked to get out the word.  Now the Howard County Health Department is offering gift cards in exchange for bumpers.

“Our goal in collecting these bumpers is to create a safe sleep environment for our infants” Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer, said in a statement. “A safe sleep environment includes a crib with no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals or crib bumper.”

The Baby Bumper Buy-Back Bonanza runs from Wednesday through May 7, excluding Saturday and Sunday. Hours of collection are from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the health department lobby, 8930 Stanford Blvd. in Columbia.

Babies-R-Us gift cards for $20 will be given to the first 20 families. Vouchers for $20 gift cards to Babies-R-Us will be given to the next 20 families, which may be collected later.

Money to pay for the program came from the Ladies Auxiliary of Howard County and Howard County Safe Kids coordinated the effort.

The final regulations banning sale of crib bumpers took effect in 2013 after an 18-month investigation. Studies found infants could press against a bumper and suffocate, become stuck between a bumper and another object or be choked by the tie from a bumper.

Officials recommend babies sleep alone on their backs in a crib for safest sleep.

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