New Which? research reveals the dangers posed by baby sleeping bags bought from online marketplaces and uncovers safety problems with big-name brands, too.
We tested 15 baby sleeping bags bought from online marketplaces, high street stores and online from leading brands, and 12 of the bags failed some of our safety tests. Only three bags - from Asda, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas - passed all of the safety requirements.
All nine of the baby sleeping bags we bought from sellers listing through online marketplaces AliExpress, Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Etsy and Wish failed to pass our safety tests. And three bags from Aldi, Grobag and Jojo Maman Bebe also failed at least one of our tests.
The safety problems uncovered included neck openings that are too wide, which could lead to a baby slipping down into the bag and suffocating.
We also found inaccurate tog ratings that could lead to a baby seriously overheating. And many bags simply didn't provide key safety information in the instructions.
All of the key findings from our baby sleeping bags tests are included in this story, to help you avoid the dangerous products and find the best and safest sleeping bag for your baby.
Click on the links below to head straight to the section you're most interested in:
Watch our video to learn about four products listed as baby sleeping bags by the sellers on online marketplaces.
However, they are not the traditional-style sleeping bags and you should steer clear of buying them.
Our lab tests show that you can trust these products to keep your little one safe and snug while they sleep.
But worryingly, they were the only three from the 15 that we tested to pass every single one of our tests.
This great-value baby sleeping bag from Asda proved to be a safe option in our lab tests. The neck opening is the correct width, the zips are strong and it passed every other safety test with flying colours.
And unlike many of the products we bought from online marketplaces, the instructions included all of the safety warnings needed for a product like this.
Try as we might we found no safety concerns with this John Lewis & Partners one tog bag for six 18-month-old babies.
The tog rating is accurate, there were no entrapment or strangulation hazards found and it flew through all of our tests. And the instructions came complete with all of the vital safety information.
We were delighted to see this Mamas & Papas Dreampod baby sleeping bag passed all of our safety tests.
Everything from the strength of the fasteners to the accuracy of the tog rating and the completeness of the warnings given in the instructions was excellent.
Our thorough lab testing revealed safety problems with 12 baby sleeping bags, including all nine purchased through online marketplaces AliExpress, Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Etsy and Wish. We also found problems with bags from big brands Aldi, Grobag and JoJo Maman Bebe.
Seven of the failures our testing exposed were serious enough to cause a baby harm or endanger its life. The five remaining safety test failures were caused by a product not meeting the requirements of the BS EN 16781:2018, which is the safety standard for baby sleeping bags.
With this JoJo Maman Bebe bag, the neck opening shouldn't have exceeded 39cm as it's suitable for children from six to 18 months - but our tests found that this was too big at 40.6cm.
We also found that three key safety warnings were missing, including warnings about ensuring that the neck and arm openings are securely fastened, to not use if the child can climb out of the cot and to not use in combination with other bedding.
This is another bag we're concerned about. The neck opening is too big for a baby up to six months old - we measured it as 35.4cm in our tests. This means that a baby could slip down inside the bag and suffocate.
This sleeping bag also gets too hot - in our tests we measured the tog level to be 4.2 when it shouldn't exceed 4. Additionally, the instructions failed to include five key safety warnings for parents.
We're very worried by the danger this 'sleeping bag' poses to babies. In our assessments we found openings that a baby could get their finger trapped in and the button inside the hood could easily be pulled off, presenting a choking risk. To round things off, it came with no instructions at all.
But worst of all, we just don't think this product is a baby sleeping bag, despite being listed as one on AliExpress by the seller. It looks more like something you'd find in a stroller.
The major safety risk this product would cause a baby is the hood - baby sleeping bags shouldn't have hoods because of the suffocation risk.
In our tests, we found threads hanging off of this bag that were longer than allowed by the standard. Loose threads are a problem because a baby could pull them turning them into a strangulation or tourniquet hazard.
Furthermore, this baby sleeping bag came with no safety instructions or warnings whatsoever.
Two worrying problems were discovered on this baby sleeping bag purchased from a seller on Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods.
The height and age the bag is designed for isn't mentioned on the product and no instructions were provided with it, making it an instant fail in our tests.
A baby sleeping bag that looks more like a dress-up costume should set alarm bells ringing and this fox-themed bag certainly did.
The zip was far too easy to pull open, which could mean a baby could get tangled in the bag or trap their fingers.
This bag got far too hot in our tests, exceeding the upper tog level by 26%, which could cause a baby to overheat. Also, the instructions provided with it were inadequate.
We're very worried about the dangers this bag could pose to babies. The neck opening is much too wide at 45.6cm, which means a baby could slip inside the bag and suffocate.
The instructions were missing at least five important warnings for parents. We also found loose hanging threads, which could endanger a baby. And the loose hanging label was too long to meet the requirements of the standard.
The zip was far too easy to open and close on this baby sleeping bag for it to meet the requirements of the safety standard. This could mean that a baby could cut or scratch themselves on the teeth of the zip if it opened without a parent realising. And the loose hanging label is too long.
The instructions for this baby sleeping bag were lacking critical information about ensuring the neck and arms fastenings are secure. They also failed to warn against not using if your baby can climb out of the cot, or in combination with a duvet or blanket. And as with the Aldi baby sleeping bag, the free hanging label was marginally too long to pass our tests
Amazon likes this bag enough to award it an Amazon's Choice badge, but we're worried about it because the instructions fail to mention at least five required safety warnings.
We also found a problem with the loop label, which was on the side of the bag and a baby could get their finger twisted inside it. To meet the requirements of the standard, loop labels like this need to be in the upper inside back part of the sleeping bag.
This is another Amazon's Choice sleeping bag that failed our tests. It has a label that's marginally too long to meet the requirements of the safety standard.
The Original Grobag passed all but one of our safety tests; it has a loose label that's marginally longer than is permitted by the standard.
To make sure only the safest baby sleeping bags are recommended and to weed out the dangerous products, we run safety tests on each bag.
We've tested all bags to extracts from the current 2018 baby sleeping bags standard. Some products featured here were manufactured to an earlier standard, but to test all of the products in a comparable and fair way, we have used the most recent standard as our safety measure.
All of our findings have been shared with the manufacturers and retailers so that they could look into the issues we've raised.
When buying from online marketplaces, we found a number of sellers seemingly trying to cover all of their bases when describing their products.
One 'baby sleeping bag' bought through AliExpress was described as a cocoon for newborns, a baby envelope and a baby sleeping bag. And the shark-shaped bag, above, is listed as a baby sleeping bag and as a quilt for a stroller.
Baby sleeping bags should look like the three that we're recommending from Asda, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas.
So if on searching online you happen upon something that says it's a baby sleeping bag, but that looks more like a stroller blanket or a baby cocoon, don't buy it because it could be unsafe to use it as a sleeping bag.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? head of home products and services, said: 'Parents will find it completely unacceptable that our investigation has found such a high number of dangerous products that could pose a potentially life-threatening risk to their baby as it sleeps.
'Consumers must be able to trust that if they buy a product in the UK from a well-known retailer or online marketplace that it will be safe and meet the safety standards required in this country.
'The government must now step in to make online marketplaces legally responsible for the safety of the products sold on their sites. We also expect retailers to remove any unsafe products from sale.'
Following our investigation, Amazon, AliExpress and eBay had removed all of the baby sleeping bags that failed our tests from their sites.
We offered each of the online marketplaces the opportunity to comment on our findings about the dangerous baby sleeping bags being sold through their sites.
AliExpress told us: 'We consider the safety of all products on our marketplace, especially children's products, to be of paramount importance. After we were made aware of these unsafe items, we took prompt action and removed them. We have policies in place to help identify listings which may infringe our policies and when informed of non-compliant listings, we take swift action.'
Amazon told us that safety is important, it uses proactive measures to stop suspicious or non-compliant products being listed and it monitors products and stores for safety concerns. It will also remove products from stores and reach out to sellers, manufacturers, government agencies and others for additional information. Customers with concerns about products are encouraged to contact customer services so that Amazon can investigate.
An eBay spokesperson said: 'We work closely with regulators, authorities and consumer organisations, including Trading Standards and the OPSS, and go beyond the legal requirements for product safety. The three listings tested and flagged to us have been removed and action has been taken against the sellers. We have also requested that the sellers issue a recall notice.'
We offered Etsy the opportunity to comment on our findings.
Wish told us that it will be alerting the merchants in question who sell the baby sleeping bags featured in this article.
We also shared our findings with manufacturers and the sellers of the sleeping bags.
Aldi told us: 'This product has been extensively tested, complies with the relevant safety standards and is entirely safe to use. We've sold thousands of them and haven't had any complaints related to the points raised by Which?.'
Babycurls told us that the sleeping bag tested by Which? was independently tested in 2017 to the earlier BS 8510:2009 and it passed the tests. The sample tested by Which? was manufactured in early 2018 and before the new testing standard was introduced. They went on to say; 'Going forward our bags will conform to BS EN 16781:2018, the label will be shortened and packaging will include the required instructions.'
JoJo Maman Bebe said that the bag tested was manufactured under the previous standard BS 8510:2009 and should fully comply to this standard and be labelled as such. The failures are all new recommendations from the revised standard. They told us: 'The bag was purchased at a time when our stock was transitioning from one standard to another, which took slightly longer than anticipated.'
The manufacturer of the Lictin baby sleeping bag told us that its new batch of bags will have the loop label removed and the instructions will be updated according to the standard. It told us that it's a responsible seller and that it will continue to provide customers with high-quality products.
Mayborn Group, makers of the Original Grobag told us: 'Following an investigation the label has been found to exceed the requirement of the standard by 3mm. The label in question is positioned inside the product, in a location that's inaccessible to a child and it's too wide and short to pose a problem. We are confident that there is no safety risk.'
None of the other sellers featured had responded at the time of writing.