Recall: 3.3 Million Boppy Baby Loungers Recalled After 8 Infant Deaths

Recall Alert 3.3 Million Baby Loungers Recalled After 8 Infant Deaths

A baby product manufacturer has recalled more than three million newborn lounging pads after eight infants were reported to have died while using the pillows between December 2015 and June 2020. The Boppy Co., the Colorado-based manufacturer of a variety of infant carriers, pillows, and other baby products, issued a recall of their Boppy Original Newborn Loungers, Boppy Preferred Newborn Loungers, and Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Loungers.

It was reported that the babies had suffocated after being placed in the lounger, on either their backs, sides, or stomachs. In the Boppy recall, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that the pillows are hazardous for infant use, saying that babies can suffocate if placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs breathing, or can roll or move into a position that obstructs breathing. The CPSC also reminded parents and caregivers that the safest way for infants to sleep is on their backs on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet, or play yard, and that parents should never add pillows, blankets, padded bumpers, or anything else that could obstruct the baby’s breathing.

Robert Adler, the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, called the incidents “heartbreaking,” and stated that since infants spend so much of their lives sleeping and that suffocation can happen so quickly, the Boppy pillows are simply “too risky to remain on the market.” Federal Safety Regulators recommend that parents and caregivers who purchased the lounging pads stop using them, and that they contact Boppy’s website for a refund.

The recall comes approximately one year after the CPSC began investigating lounging pads and nursing pillows as a whole, which they warned were not safe to use as sleeping products. It also follows a recent Consumer Reports article that linked more than two dozen infant deaths between 2012 and 2018 to baby pillows, some of which were made by Boppy. Originally published on September 1st, the article has since been updated to include details of the recall.

Boppy’s Response

In a statement, a company spokesperson for Boppy stated that they were “devastated” to hear about these tragedies, and that they are “committed to doing everything possible to safeguard babies, including communicating the safe use of our products to parents and caregivers, and educating the public about the importance of following all warnings and instructions and the risks associated with unsafe sleep practices for infants.”

In addition to emphasizing the importance of reading manuals and warning labels when using products made for young children, they noted that the Boppy Loungers “were not marketed as [infant sleep products]” and include warnings that cautioned parents against leaving infants in the loungers unsupervised. However, the product description on their website touted the pillow as “safe,” and stated that the lounger “allows mom or dad a few minutes of supervised, but hands-free time.”

On their website, Boppy posted a notice announcing the voluntary recall of their Newborn Lounger, applying to all colors and models released by the brand. They note the risk of infant suffocation with the use of their lounging pad, and have offered customers the chance to obtain a refund. Prior to the recall issuance, the company had sold over 3 million units across big box and online retailers such as Pottery Barn, Target, Walmart, and Amazon alike.

The Dangers of “Loungers”

In 2019, the CPSC hired experts to test and evaluate the safety of inclined sleep products after receiving reports of at least 73 infant deaths between 2005 and 2019. The engineers in charge of conducting the research reported that they found only firm products with inclines reaching 10 degrees or less were safe for infant sleep, with softer plush surfaces or inclined sleepers much more dangerous.

The Boppy recall notice states that the products are intended to be used as loungers, and that they are not infant sleep products. However, Ben Hoffman, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention stated that how a product is marketed doesn’t necessarily lessen the risk it poses because changing the marketed purpose of the item “doesn’t change what babies are going to do.”

He cited inclined sleepers as an example, stating that though they were found to be dangerous for infants to sleep in by the CPSC, they can still technically be sold if they are sold for “lounging purposes” and not marketed as a sleep item. Experts urge parents to supervise their infants if utilizing a lounger, and state that if the baby falls asleep on a lounging pillow or on some other surface that is not meant for sleep, parents should move them to a firm, flat surface instead.

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