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The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is looking for data and public input on infant crib bumper pads, those cushioned linings that are supposed to prevent babies from bumping into the crib but may provide a means of asphyxiation.

The pads have been linked to 20 infant deaths in the United States, including at least one in Maryland in 2007, though data is limited. The American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed concern about them and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced it plans to consider the issue.

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State health officials want to hear from the public, interested parties, health professionals and other knowledgeable about product safety. Are they a risk? Are there benefits? Could dangers be reduced with labeling? The state will decide whether to pass on the information to federal officials or take action within the state.

The comment period is open until May 9. An advisory panel will review the comments and make recommendations.

Submit comments to Michele Phinney, Director of the Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 W. Preston St., Room 512, Baltimore, MD 21201, or call 410-767-6499, TTY:800-735-2258, or by email to regs@dhmh.state.md.us, or by fax to 410-767-6483.

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