Millions of Boppy Newborn Loungers are being recalled after eight infant deaths were reported in a five-year span.
A recall notice for the popular baby product was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and The Boppy Company on Sept. 23.
The recall affects all Boppy Newborn Loungers, which were sold in a variety of colors and styles from January 2004 to September 2021. About 3.3 million Boppy Newborn Loungers were sold at retailers including Pottery Barn Kids, Target, Walmart, Amazon and other major retailers in the United States. The recall also affects about 35,000 Boppy products sold in Canada in that same time period.
According to the CPSC, the infant deaths related to the loungers occurred after children were placed on their back, side or stomach to sleep on the lounger. It appears that all reported deaths were suffocations, and the CPSC notes that all of the children who passed away were found on their sides or stomachs. All eight deaths occurred between December 2015 and June 2020.
"These types of incidents are heartbreaking," said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert S. Adler in a press release announcing the recall. "Loungers and pillow-like products are not safe for infant sleep, due to the risk of suffocation. Since we know that infants sleep so much of the time — 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."
According to the CPSC, any parents who own a Boppy lounger should immediately discontinue use of the product and contact The Boppy Company for a refund.
"We are devastated to hear of these tragedies,” a spokesperson for Boppy said in the CPSC press release. “Boppy is 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. The lounger was not marketed as an infant sleep product and includes warnings against unsupervised use."
The CPSC has warned about letting infants sleep on nursing pillows, lounging pads or other soft surfaces. In 2020, the organization released a report that warned parents against using "pillow-like infant products" since they "are not designed for sleep and are not safe for sleep." At the time, the CPSC announced that they were investigating infant deaths related to the use of pillow-like products.
According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in 2016, approximately 3,500 infants "die annually ... from sleep-related infant deaths." In 2020, the CPSC statement noted that almost 1,000 of those deaths appear to be suffocations.
"The initial assessment of incidents shows deaths when children are left on or near pillows, and the child rolls over, rolls off, or falls asleep. CPSC is investigating the entire class of products," the statement said. At the time, the organization did not name any specific companies or products, but said they were analyzing data to provide "more clarity to the public on any risks associated with these products."
The CPSC recommends that babies sleep on a "firm, flat surface" in a crib, bassinet or play yard. The area should not have any blankets, pillows, padded bumpers or other items that can interfere with breathing. Infants should always be placed on their backs to sleep.