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The Boppy Company has issued a recall in the US for 3.3 million of its Newborn Lounger baby pillows following the deaths of eight babies.
The deaths occurred between December 2015 and June 2020, with all of the babies affected being found on their side or on their stomach.
The recall affects all models and colours of the original Boppy Newborn Lounger, the Preferred Newborn Lounger and the Pottery Barn Lounger.
The recalled Boppy loungers were all sold between January 2004 and September 2021.
We always recommend you use a flat surface for your baby to sleep on – pick a Best Buy cot mattress.
Why are these Boppy loungers unsafe?
Babies placed on Boppy Pillows and similar baby pillows or loungers can roll over and suffocate.
The official recall notice – issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the US – notes that infants can suffocate if they roll, move or are placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs their breathing. Or if they roll off the lounger onto another surface, such as an adult’s pillow or soft bedding this could also obstruct breathing.
Manufacturers of products like this will usually make it clear that they are only for settling and soothing a baby before moving them into a cot or a Moses basket. And warnings are made to parents about not allowing babies to fall asleep in them.
But they become dangerous for babies if they happen to fall asleep while resting in one or if a parent forgets to move them.
This is why we always recommend that your baby sleeps on a flat surface.
Read more about cot mattresses and baby bedding safety.
What should you do if you own a recalled Boppy lounger?
If you own a Boppy Newborn Lounger you should stop using it immediately.
The recall only relates to products that were sold in the US and Canada so there may not be many in UK homes.
But if you own one, the manufacturer states on its site that refunds will be available.
Why should you avoid using a sleep pillow or positioner?
The problem with loungers or sleep pillows, in general, is that they’re too soft – this can lead to young babies turning over and squashing their faces into them.
As they’re so young, babies might not be able to turn back and this poses a suffocation risk.
The safest place for your baby to sleep will always be on a firm and flat surface.
Advice from the Lullaby Trust on safe sleep for babies
The Lullaby Trust raises awareness about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) so we spoke to them to find out more about safe sleep for babies.
Kate Holmes, head of support and information told us:
‘We know from research that the safest place to sleep your baby is always going to be on an entirely flat, firm surface, with no soft or thick padding or bedding around them.
‘This is to reduce the chance of overheating, which can increase the risk of SIDS, but also because anything with raised sides or cushioned areas might pose a risk if a baby wriggles into a position where it stops the baby from being able to breathe properly.
‘Our advice, and that of the NHS, is that pillows should not be used under 12 months of age. We stick to that even in the absence of all other risks because the evidence is so strong.
‘We also advocate a clear cot policy – so nothing in the cot apart from the baby and their sheets and blankets or baby sleep bag. The risks with a newborn baby would also relate to their neck control and not being able to get out of risky situations if they were in them.’