Nursing Pillows May Have Caused 162 Infant Deaths: NBC News Report

Report highlights the serious infant risks from nursing pillows, as the CPSC cracks down on products sold by a number of different companies

A recent investigative report released by NBC News highlights the serious risks associated with widely used nursing pillows, suggesting that manufacturers and federal safety officials have been aware of an alarming number of infant deaths over the past few decades, but only recently started to act by forcing manufacturers to issue recalls.

Many families have used nursing pillows while their infant sleeps, not understanding the serious suffocation danger they may quickly pose if a child is able to rollover, potentially becoming trapped against the fabric.

In a nursing pillow investigative report published on August 7, NBC News reviewed of hundreds of public records and internal federal agency data, which revealed at least 162 infant deaths have been caused by suffocation, positional asphyxia and SIDS deaths after a child was placed on a nursing pillow.

Many children under the age of one were found deceased after rolling over and becoming trapped against the nursing pillow fabric, according to the report, while others were found to have suffocated and died while co-sleeping in bed with their parents, or after taking a nap on or near the pillow.

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Infant nursing pillows have become popular in recent years, with approximately 1.34 million sold in the U.S. each year, according to the CPSC. The pillows are heavily cushioned, C-shaped, and inclined. They are primarily used to support both the mother and baby during breastfeeding.

While some products warn consumers against leaving babies unattended or allowing them sleep on the pillows, others are marketed as safe to use for infant lounging or sleep, which is now known to increase the risk of suffocation and death to infants.

Infant Product Safety Risks

Federal safety regulators have been increasingly concerned in recent years over the safety of infant products, including infant loungers, weighted blankets, nursing pillows and other cushioned or pillow-like products. The products create hazardous sleeping environments for infants and have been linked to an increasing number of infant deaths, which has prompted the agency to issue several safety warnings and recalls.

The CPSC has recalled more than 4.7 million Fisher-Price Rock’n Play sleepers, 694,000 Kids II inclined rocking sleepers, 200,000 Fisher-Price infant sleepers, 3.3 million Boppy newborn loungers, as well as several other similar products linked to infants deaths after the child was able to roll over and become trapped against the fabric.

The NBC News report comes as the CPSC is currently drafting a proposal to implement federal regulations and guidance on infant nursing pillows and loungers.  Officials are expected to present their proposal in the coming week.


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