More than 3 million Boppy lounger pillows have been voluntarily recalled by the company after the product was associated with eight infant deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced Thursday. The agency states that the pillows pose a suffocation risk to babies. “Infants can suffocate if they roll, move, or are placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs breathing, or roll off the lounger onto an external surface, such as an adult pillow or soft bedding that obstructs breathing,” the CPSC said.
The voluntary recall includes “ALL models and colors of the Newborn Lounger, the Preferred Newborn Lounger, and the Pottery Barn Lounger,” Boppy said. You can find a full list of the recalled loungers here. Parents are advised to immediately discontinue use of the Boppy pillows and visit the website for information on how to proceed.
Prior to the recall, Consumer Reports issued a warning on Sept. 1 that Boppy loungers had been linked to several infant deaths. The fatalities associated with Boppy pillows and loungers appear to have been directly caused by improper sleep conditions where children suffocated after being left unattended.
“Most of the fatalities occurred after parents put their babies to sleep while propped up by the pillow or lounger, and the baby rolled over into the soft fabric and was unable to breathe,” Consumer Reports explained. “In many of the cases, there were other factors that may have contributed to the death, such as a blanket on top of the baby or a parent or sibling in bed with the baby.” Prior to this report, in October 2020, the CPSC issued a warning urging parents and caregivers not to use nursing pillows and pillow-like infant products for sleep.
Romper’s request for comment from Boppy was not immediately returned, but a spokesperson for the company told CBS News they are “devastated to hear of these tragedies,” before adding, “The lounger was not marketed as an infant sleep product and includes warnings against unsupervised use.”
“There have been eight reports of infant deaths associated with The Boppy Company Newborn Lounger and this hazard,” the company said in a recall notice. “The infants reportedly suffocated after being placed on their back, side or stomach on the lounger and were found on their side or on their stomach. The infant deaths occurred between December 2015 and June 2020.”
In the months since the CPSC issued a reminder to parents that these pillow-like products are “not designed for sleep and are not safe for sleep,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also issued a statement to parents that infants should be put to sleep alone in a bed on a flat, firm surface free of any pillows or bedding. The CPSC notes that “bare is best” for safe sleep practices, and that parents and caregivers should avoid adding any extra bedding to their baby’s sleep environment like blankets, pillows, or crib bumpers.
Amy St. Germain, Boppy’s vice president for marketing, explained in a statement to Consumer Reports that the company is working with the CPSC to “find a solution that makes babies safer.”
“We have long provided clear and unequivocal warnings and instructions for safe usage on all products,” St. Germain said. “We have always stressed that our products are for awake time only. And, as clearly noted on all products, packaging and promotional materials, infants should not be unattended or left to sleep on or with any Boppy product. Despite these measures, our product has been used for infant sleep in adult beds, sofas, cribs, bassinets, and play yards with blankets, pillows, and people — contrary to our warnings, AAP’s guidelines, and CPSC’s October 7, 2020 warning.”
Acting CPSC Chairman Robert Adler said in a statement to Consumer Reports that even with these warning, the recall was necessary. “Since we know that infants sleep so much of the tim — even in products not intended for sleep — and since suffocation can happen so quickly, these Boppy lounger products are simply too risky to remain on the market.”
To learn more about the recall, Boppy has put together an FAQ to answer some questions. You can also reach out directly to the company.