Millions of Boppy Loungers Recalled After Products Linked to Infant Deaths

The CPSC issued the alert almost a year after warning caregivers to never let infants sleep on the products, which were sold at Amazon and Pottery Barn

Boppy Lounger
A recalled Boppy Original Newborn Lounger.
Photo: Consumer Reports

The Boppy Company recalled about 3.3 million loungers today because the products have been tied to a reported eight deaths, according to an announcement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal agency that oversees thousands of home goods.

Three models of loungers were recalled: the Boppy Original Newborn Lounger, the Boppy Preferred Newborn Lounger, and the Pottery Barn Kids Newborn Boppy Lounger.

The CPSC is urging parents to stop using the products immediately and to contact the company for a refund.

The recall follows an investigation earlier this month from Consumer Reports linking at least seven deaths to Boppy loungers and nursing pillows, based on a review of government data.

More On Child Safety

It also comes almost one year after the CPSC warned caregivers to never let infants sleep on lounging pads, which are meant for babies to sit or lie on while awake and supervised, or nursing pillows, which are meant to make breastfeeding more comfortable. The reason for the warning: when babies are left unattended or sleeping on these padded products, they may roll over or their heads may fall in a way that can block their airway and cause suffocation. In fact, CR has tied at least 28 infant deaths to lounging pads and nursing pillows.

While the CPSC has been investigating both loungers and nursing pillows made by several companies, today’s recall focuses solely on Boppy loungers because, the announcement states, "infants can suffocate if they roll, move, or are placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs breathing, or roll off the lounger onto an external surface such as an adult pillow or soft bedding that obstructs breathing."

A spokesperson for Boppy said in a statement: “We are devastated to hear of these tragedies. Boppy is committed to doing everything possible to safeguard babies, including communicating the safe use of our products to parents and caregivers, and educating the public about the importance of following all warnings and instructions and the risks associated with unsafe sleep practices for infants. The lounger was not marketed as an infant sleep product and includes warnings against unsupervised use.”

Indeed, Boppy’s labels and marketing clearly state that their loungers are not intended for sleep. But CPSC incident data and online chat groups reveal that caregivers do use the cushioned products as sleepers.

One online poster wrote of the Boppy lounger, "My baby loves the lounger! I started w naps so I could watch him but now he sleeps on it at night—every night. I love taking naps w him in the lounger in the bed."

This usage goes counter to safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which state that babies should be placed to bed in their own sleep space, on their back, on a firm, flat surface that is free of soft bedding, padded bumpers, or restraints.

"Since we know that infants sleep so much of the time—even in products not intended for sleep—and since suffocation can happen so quickly, these Boppy lounger products are simply too risky to remain on the market,” said Acting CPSC Chairman Robert Adler, in a statement.

Oriene Shin, CR’s policy counsel, says that this recall did not come fast enough. “It is now clear that Boppy never should have introduced these loungers in the first place and should have acted sooner to remove them from the marketplace,” she says. “While we welcome the recall, this is yet another example of a company taking advantage of outdated federal product safety laws that keep consumers in the dark about product-related dangers. This is why Congress should strengthen the CPSC’s ability to warn the public about hazardous products and take quick, forceful action to hold companies accountable when people are at risk.

Incident reports tying Boppy loungers to fatalities reveal that babies who are not yet developmentally able to roll from their back to their stomach while on a firm, flat surface appear to be able to do so while in the loungers. It seems babies may be able to push off the padding of the products, causing them to roll over and press their face into the lounger’s soft fabric, blocking their airflow. Once babies are on their side or their stomach, up against the padded lounger, they are often not able to turn themselves into a position that allows them to breathe.

For instance, one report states that a 2-month-old baby girl, a triplet, “died after being found face down on a Boppy lounger pillow . . . The cause of death as determined by the medical examiner was positional asphyxia.”

Compounding the risk of the loungers is that parents also sometimes place the products on adult beds for bed sharing, which adds to the suffocation hazard.

A report states that a 3-month-old baby boy was found “unresponsive,” lying on top of a Boppy lounger “with his head between [an] adult body and [the lounging] pillow, which was folded in half.”

Ben Hoffman, MD, a pediatrician and chairman of the AAP’s Council on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, says that though caregivers may be tempted to let their babies sleep on cushioned loungers, it’s not worth the risk.

“Loungers are, under no circumstances, a safe sleep space,” he says. “While they may seem like a comfortable place for babies to sleep, or an easier way to get your baby to sleep, they are a serious danger to sleeping babies.

Recall Details

Products recalled: About 3.3 million loungers sold by The Boppy Company in a variety of colors, measuring about 23 inches long by 22 inches wide and 7 inches high. (Boppy also distributed about 35,000 in Canada.) Models recalled: Boppy Original Newborn Lounger, Boppy Preferred Newborn Lounger, and Pottery Barn Kids Newborn Boppy Lounger.

Sold at: Juvenile product stores and major retailers including Amazon, Pottery Barn, Target, and Walmart from January 2004 through September 2021 for between $30 and $44.

The problem: The baby loungers—which are designed for babies to use while awake and supervised—have been linked to 8 infant deaths that occurred between December 2015 and June 2020. The infants reportedly suffocated after being placed on their back, side, or stomach on the lounger and were found on their side or on their stomach.

The fix: Consumers should immediately stop using the loungers and contact the company for a refund.

How to contact the manufacturer: Call The Boppy Company at 800-416-1355 or go to the company’s website and click "Recall & Safety Alert."

To report a dangerous product or product-related injury, go to SaferProducts.gov.


Rachel Rabkin Peachman

I'm a science journalist turned investigative reporter on CR's Special Projects team. My job is to shed light on issues affecting people's health, safety, and well-being. I've dug deep into problems such as dangerous doctors, deadly children's products, and contamination in our food supply. Got a tip? Follow me on Twitter (@RachelPeachman).