ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The nation's first statewide ban on the sale of crib bumper pads is taking effect in Maryland.

The ban begins Friday.

Health officials say crib bumper pads offer no meaningful benefit and pose potentially serious risks to infants, including suffocation.

Maryland's health department notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health all advise against their use.

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.

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