New law will ban padded bumper sale or shipment

CATONSVILLE, Md - Shhhhh...

Madeline is sleeping.

She's had a diaper change, a bottle and a burping, and now it's time to drift off to dreamland.

...Or, maybe not.

At four-months, this little cutie likes to flash that $1 million smile.

Other than her protector in the far corner, she sleeps alone, on her back, without a ton of pillows and other stuff piled inside.

"We have her in different pajamas. If it gets cold, I put her in one of the sleep sacks -- something warmer on at night instead of putting in the blankets and pillows. The only thing that's in the crib with her is a sound machine, and it's strapped down. She can't move that either."

Those are the words of Madeline's mom Becky Iacia. The state of Maryland now says all babies should sleep the way Iacia ensures Madeline sleeps.

Maryland is the first state to completely ban the sale of padded crib bumpers .

Although originally designed to protect babies from getting stuck in crib bars, over the years infants have been smothered or injured after the padding cut off their breathing.

The bigger push is not just about the bumpers. It's about keeping cribs free of potentially dangerous clutter.

"A lot of people will say, 'I had this in my crib. This can't possibly be wrong.' But, that's probably a challenging way to think about it when you're talking about a very rare event," says Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Joshua Scarfstein. "But with kids, you don't want to have a rare event. You don't want to have a rare tragedy. You don't want to risk it unless there's a real reason to risk it. These are products that have no benefit." .

It's important to point out that it is only the padded bumpers that are banned .

Well-secured mesh bumpers like Madeline's are okay and do serve an important purpose. ...If you can get her to finally go to sleep.

The department will issue a warning to someone who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland.

Further violations can bring a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.

The ban doesn't apply to vertical bumpers that wrap tightly around each crib rail or mesh crib liners, but the health department doesn't endorse them.

For more information about the ban and the safe sleep initiatives go to the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene site at: http://www.dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/Home.aspx

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