By Karen Hardingham, BSN, RN, CPST
Coordinator for Safe Kids Baltimore
University of Maryland Children’s Hospital
In an effort to promote “safe sleep” for infants, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has recently banned the sale of crib bumper pads in the state of Maryland. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health advise against the use of crib bumper pads, as they serve no useful purpose and create potential risks of suffocation and death. The DHMH will initially issue warnings to companies that continue to sell to purchasers in Maryland. After that, companies could be fined up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold.
Banning the sale of bumper pads is just part of the process of promoting safe sleep for all infants. Educating families on prevention measures for infant sleep-related deaths is crucial and is promoted throughout the Children’s Hospital and in the community via Safe Kids Baltimore.
Two resources provide information using the ABCs of safe infant sleep (Alone, Back, Crib – no exceptions!):
- Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – (www.dhmh.maryland.gov/safesleep)
- Baltimore for Healthy Babies Program at the Baltimore City Health Department (www.healthybabiesbaltimore.com/out-initiatives/safe-sleep)
Most sleep-related deaths occur when babies are sleeping with other children or adults in beds or on sofas. It is fine for babies to share their parents’ rooms – just not their beds.
Placing infants to sleep alone and on their backs in their own clean and clear crib (no fluffy bedding, pillows or toys) can significantly decrease the risk of an infant sleep-related death. This setting should be followed for every nap and nighttime sleep.
Creating a smoke-free home is also recommended, since maternal smoking and second-hand smoke are also risk factors associated with infant sleep-related deaths.
Although great strides have been made since the “back to sleep” campaign was initiated years ago, infant sleep-related deaths remain a leading cause of death for healthy infants in Baltimore city and across the nation.
Safe Kids Baltimore, led by the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, can be contacted at 410-328-7532 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.