Boppy baby pillows have been recalled - here's what to know about the product that's popular among new parents

·3 min read
Boppy lounger
Boppy lounger Boppy Company
  • Millions of Boppy baby loungers were recalled this week after reports of infant deaths.

  • Experts say products marketed for "baby lounging" are often used for sleep.

  • But a pediatrician told Insider that "it's not worth the risk that it poses to your baby."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

For many parents, the Boppy lounger is a beloved piece of baby gear. But this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of 3.3 million products sold by The Boppy Company after eight reports of babies suffocating were filed from December 2015 to June 2020.

An investigation by Consumer Reports published earlier this month found more than two dozen infant fatalities from 2012 to 2018 linked to nursing and baby pillows, including some made by Boppy.

"People may be really attached to their Boppy, but the fact of the matter is it's not worth the risk that it poses to your baby," said Dr. Ben Hoffman, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention.

He applauded Boppy for moving forward with a voluntary recall and "doing the right thing for babies."

These baby pillows are not intended for babies to sleep on

The recall notice says Boppy's products are marketed as loungers and not as infant sleep products. But Hoffman said that when it comes to baby products, how a product is marketed doesn't change the risk it poses to babies, and many unsafe products meant for baby lounging are actually used for sleep.

"Even though inclined sleepers have been pulled off the market, they can still be sold as a 'lounger' if not specifically sold for the purposes of sleep. But that doesn't change what babies are going to do," he said, adding that sharing cute but unsafe sleep practices on social media could normalize dangerous behavior.

"Loungers have been for many years marketed as products that help babies sleep while never actually being held accountable for infant deaths that occur in them," said Andrea De La Torre, the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Answers. She said she worried that unsafe sleep situations were being normalized on social media.

"The companies say it's not intended for sleep in the manufacturer labels, but the picture they paint, what they're trying to sell you, is different," she said.

Both De La Torre and Hoffman said that while they understood the appeal of lounger products - everybody needs to put their baby down sometimes - people caring for babies should take safe sleep seriously.

Caregivers should ensure that babies sleep safely

"A parent shouldn't feel bad if they've used this type of device to help their child sleep, but they definitely should look at their child's sleep habits and make sure they're practicing all the rules of safe sleep," De La Torre said.

Hoffman said babies should sleep only in products that meet the CPSC's standards for safe sleep. Those products have a flat, hard surface - for example, pack 'n plays, bassinets, and, of course, cribs.

If you're using a product meant for lounging, your baby needs to be constantly supervised, as if they were in a bathtub, Hoffman said. If your baby falls asleep on a surface not meant for sleep, like a lounger or a breastfeeding pillow, you should move them to a firm, flat, and bare sleep surface.

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