Maryland proposes baby bumper pad ban next year

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's health department is officially proposing that the first statewide ban on the sale of baby bumper pads begin next year.

The department announced Friday it is proposing the ban start on June 21, 2013.

The department started investigating the risks the pads pose to infants last year. Since then, the department has convened a panel of health experts, held two public meetings and reviewed public comment.

A four-member task force recommended last year that the state declare crib bumpers a hazard because they can suffocate or strangle babies. State health officials have concluded the risks to infants outweigh the potential benefits.

Public comment on the proposed regulation will be accepted until August 13. The proposal would give retailers nine months to prepare to comply with the ban.