Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ)— A crib is supposed to be a safe place for babies. But doctors say crib bumpers could turn it into a death trap.
Gigi Barnett explains Maryland is now pushing a plan to ban them.
Dallia Rouchon has never used crib bumpers for her newborn daughter Nyla. She didn’t even use them for her toddler son, Jalil.
“There’s a risk that their head can be entrapped between the side of the crib bumpers and the crib itself,” said Rouchon.
That’s exactly why the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene moved this week to ban the bumpers from store shelves.
Under the ban– which isn’t approved yet– stores will have a little less than a year to begin stripping the bumpers.
“Over the last couple of years, there have been an increasing number of reports in the United States and other countries of real tragedies that have happened,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Department of Health Secretary.
Sharfstein says the number of cases is small and manufacturers tried to convince him that the bumpers are safe.
Since 2001, Maryland has seen one confirmed baby bumper death and nine asphyxiation deaths in which a bumper was in the crib.
“It does not happen a lot, but one baby that dies because of crib bumpers is one baby too many,” Sharfstein said.
The state says the next step now is a public campaign telling parents that babies should sleep on their backs without bumpers.
“That message is very hard to deliver when everywhere you go, these potentially unsafe bumpers are for sale,” Sharfstein said.
The ban does not apply to the mesh bumpers or the vertical bumpers that wrap around the crib railing. Healthcare workers say that the best option for parents to keep kids safe is no bumper at all.
Back in October, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommended that parents stop using crib bumpers. If the regulation is approved, stores have until June 2013 to take them off their shelves.