Maryland Bans Crib BumpersRebekah Kuschmider
If you live in my home state of Maryland and are looking for a cute crib bumper for your nursery, stop looking. As of last Friday, Maryland bans crib bumper sales. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:
The ban on the sale of crib bumper pads is part of an ongoing public health effort to educate parents about safe sleep practices for babies. The Department is distributing over 200,000 cards and posters on safe sleep to WIC agencies and local health departments. Free materials are also available to providers and can be ordered at www.dhmh.maryland.gov/safesleep. The key message of this effort is that babies sleep best alone, on their back and in a crib free of blankets, pillows, fluffy toys, crib bumpers, or stuffed animals.
Breaking the new regulations will result in fines to sellers:
The ban applies to crib bumpers that are made of non-mesh type material, rest directly above the mattress along the length of each of the interior sides of the crib, and are intended to be used until the age that an infant pulls to stand. The Department will issue a warning to an individual who ships or sells crib bumper pads to a purchaser in Maryland. If there continues to be violation of the regulation after a warning is issued, a fine of up to $500 for each crib bumper shipped or sold can be assessed.
This is all well and good if you’re a bricks-and-mortar retailer in Maryland. You knew this was coming and likely you stopped stocking bumpers a while ago and just won’t stock them again. But what about small platform internet sellers, like Etsy store owners or Amazon marketplace sellers? Is a small business owner 6 states away supposed to know about arcane laws relating to shipping crib bumpers – a perfectly legal item – to Maryland? Is the state going to be wasting resources sending nasty-grams to custom bedding makers on the internet? That seems like a big old waste of time and money to me.
I’m all about promoting safe sleep for babies but this seems like a really stupid way of going about it. It would be better to develop lots and lots of promotional materials, in many languages, and distribute them through OB/GYNs, pediatricians, on television, through the mail, in libraries, post offices, social services offices, on bus shelters, you name it. That would make a lot more sense than chasing down every Etsy seller who unknowingly ships a crib bumper to Maryland.
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