Nursing pillows and various other lounge products made for infants have been the cause of concern in recent years due to an alarming rate of death attributed to them. Federal safety officials and organizations are warning parents and caregivers to be cautious of the areas where an infant is sleeping.
An entire class of infant products is being investigated due to an increased number of these deaths. On October 7, 2020, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a warning about products that are not designed for or are safe for sleep. This includes all brands and models of loungers, swaddlers, pillow-like products, and now nursing pillows.
Nursing Pillows Now on List of Dangerous Infant Sleep Products
Nursing pillows are intended to keep the infant in a safe and comfortable position while they are awake or nursing. But many times, parents allow their infants to remain in them to sleep or take a nap.
This increases the risk of fatalities as the small child is prone to rolling over onto their stomachs, rolling off the product itself, or becoming trapped, known as positional asphyxia. This could leave their face trapped against the fabric, and for infants who haven’t the upper body strength to move their neck, they could suffocate.
Popular nursing pillow brands include Boppy, My Breast Friend, and Blessed Nest. Boppy nursing pillows include user instructions that outline a possible suffocation hazard with their product. This includes not putting the Boppy in a crib, cradle, bassinet, playpen, or play yard.
An unfortunate example of this kind of fatality involved a 3-month-old boy in Florida who was left atop a nursing pillow and unattended. His mom returned after only 15 minutes to find her son had rolled over, face-down into the pillow, and suffocated to death.
Studies Show Concerning Findings
Consumer Reports issued a study that found at least 28 reports of infant death related to nursing pillows and lounging pads between 2012 and 2018. Parents and caregivers must be hyper-vigilant to the brands and products, as the CPSC is unable to warn against particular brands prior to a recall.
A major safety campaign has been instituted called “Bare is Best” which encourages parents and caregivers to not allow infants to sleep on these types of products, especially unattended. Instead, the alternative is to place children [alone] on their backs on a firm and flat surface, remove blankets, pillows, bumpers, toys and other items from the crib during nap time, or rest.
Another recommendation is to discontinue the use of inclined sleepers with more than a ten-degree angle. This is another entrapment and suffocation hazard.
The danger in Other Infant Sleep Products
Infant sleep products have caused an uptick in the roughly 1,000 infant suffocations in their sleep each year. CPSC, as well as a number of other organizations, have been reevaluating the standards of appropriate and acceptable sleep products for infants due to these concerning numbers.
In 2019, CPSC proposed a rule to ban inclined infant sleepers. The rule would enforce manufacturers to create infant sleep products that conform to [now] mandatory standards given by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
The proposal was released after a recall was instituted and impacted millions of infant sleep products across the country.
Infant Sleep Product Recalls
Examples of infant sleep products that have been recalled or pose a threat to infant safety are below. If you own one of these products, please adhere to the guidelines of safety commissions and organizations to keep your infant safe.
The Fisher-Price Rock’n Play Sleeper was recalled in April of 2019 due to a design problem that has led to the death of at least 32 infants who became trapped against the fabric and suffocating to death.
Several manufacturers followed suit, such as the recall of 694,000 Kids II inclined rocking sleepers.
Fisher-Price later recalled another inclined sleeper in June of that year, which was an accessory to its Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards.
For a comprehensive list of infant sleep product recalls, please go here.
Due to these recalls and the unfortunate infant deaths as the result of certain inclined sleepers, Fisher-Price is embroiled in a number of inclined sleeper individual wrongful death lawsuits; as well as class-action lawsuit that alleges the company knew or should have known about the risks, delayed the recall or warning about the products, and knowingly allowed the purchase of life-threatening sleeper devices.
Do you have a nursing pillow lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has suffered a loss due to a defective inclined baby/infant sleeper product, or nursing pillow, you should contact the lawyers at Johnson // Becker.
We are currently representing a number of families devastated by these types of recalls and would be honored to speak with you.