Reports Link Boppy Nursing Pillows to Infant Deaths, Injuries; May Prompt Legal Action

Photo: (Photo : BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Possible legal action could be underway against the makers of Boppy nursing pillows amid reports that the product has been tied to seven infant deaths.

In a statement to ABC News, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has been looking into filing a case as no changes have been made since the agency issued a warning against the baby product's risks.

In 2020, CPSC released a statement to inform parents and caregivers that pillow products designed for nursing and lounging are not meant to be used for sleeping. However, many parents still leave their babies on the pillow as they roll over and fall asleep.

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At that time of the warning, the CPSC did not name any specific brand, but ABC News reported that the agency received new reports especially linking Boppy pillow products to at least seven infant deaths and one injury.

Boppy was established by a mother who wanted an ergonomic pillow to make breastfeeding easier. The item became an instant hit for many mothers, triggering the brand's growth as an online baby store. Their items are also available at major retailers across the U.S.

Instructions Provided in the Pillow Products

According to CPSC policy counsel Oriene Shin, it has been ten months since the warning was released, and yet Boppy has not taken any steps to remedy the safety concerns.

"Infants continue to die, and every day that passes without stronger action is another day a terrible tragedy could happen," Shin said.

However, Boppy marketing vice president Amy St. Germain said that they had given parents and caregivers "clear and unequivocal warnings and instructions" about the safe use of their products. Germain said they have "always stressed" to parents that the Boppy nursing pillows or lounging pillows should be used only when the baby is awake for feeding and resting. In June, the company came out with a Boppy Pledge to commemorate National Safety Month, which reiterated that mothers must use their pillows during adult-supervised times with the infants.

However, Shin said that the company should have done additional concrete actions to ensure the safety of the babies. The CPSC counsel said that Boppy could have changed design, but there are no indications of such plans from the company.

New Rules for Manufacturers

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), infants need to sleep in an environment where there are no pillows, blankets, or padded bumpers to prevent the risk of suffocation that could lead to death. If possible, parents should set their babies on their backs on a flat and firm surface when sleeping as they do not yet need the additional cushions from pillows.

In June 2022, the CPSC will strictly test baby sleep products that allow baby no more than 10 degrees of angle on the sleeping surface. Products that fail to comply with this standard might be recalled or taken off the market. The CPSC said that the new guideline is necessary to shift the "responsibility to manufacturers" to produce products that give parents the option to bed-share with their infants.

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