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Md. Panel: Crib Bumpers A Hazard To Babies

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A strong warning for parents who may be using crib bumpers. A Maryland panel of pediatricians wants to strip them from shelves.

As Gigi Barnett explains, Maryland could be the first state in the nation to ban the bumpers.

Parents believe cribs are one of the safest places for babies. But if that crib has a bumper, one state panel says it could kill. Crib bumpers are designed to keep babies from hitting their heads, but some studies show babies can roll into the bumper and suffocate or choke on its strings.

Nationwide, bumpers are blamed for at least two infant deaths.

“They’re very dangerous, I would never use them,” said one person.

State Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is considering the panel’s recommendation to pull the product from shelves. Three years ago, he asked the FDA to ban cold medicines for infants from stores and it worked. Now, he may do the same with bumpers, making Maryland a trailblazer.

“I don’t know of any reason why you would use a crib bumper or any expert who is advocating for that,” he said.

But companies that make the bumpers say if installed properly, they’re no danger to infants. For that reason, some parents say it’s all they have to keep babies safe.

“I’m sure that people will end up buying them just somewhere else. I have them,” said Sylvia Gutowska.

If the recommendations are approved, it would not block parents from using crib bumpers that they already have or driving to other states to buy them.

In addition to Maryland, other states are considering the bumper ban. Illinois’ Attorney General has asked manufacturers to stop making the bumpers.

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