Jan 23, 2024

Boppy newborn loungers still sold on Facebook despite recall, infant deaths

Thousands of Boppy Company newborn loungers that were deemed "too risky to remain on the market" are still available to buy on Facebook Marketplace, federal safety regulators said, despite the company recalling the popular pillowlike products in 2021 following a string of infant deaths linked to them.

In the past decade, at least 10 babies have died after being placed on a Boppy lounger, according to Boppy and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of them died of suffocation after being found rolled over onto their side or stomach, they said.

"Until these sales are stopped, babies will continue to be at risk of death," CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka said in a statement, adding that the agency is putting pressure on Facebook parent company Meta to take "effective action" and remove posts advertising the products.

"Meta can and should be doing much more to save lives," Trumka said, adding that the CPSC has made around 1,000 takedown requests to Meta each month over the last year regarding the sale of Boppy loungers.

Meta said in a statement to the Associated Press that it was taking the issue "seriously" and that when the company finds "listings that violate our rules, we remove them."

"Like other platforms where people can buy and sell goods, there are instances of people knowingly or unknowingly selling recalled goods on Marketplace," it said.

Baby deaths spur recall of 3.3 million Boppy and Pottery Barn infant loungers

According to Boppy, eight babies died between December 2015 and June 2020, and the CPSC said Tuesday that two more infants died shortly after the recall of around 3 million devices was announced in September 2021.

Boppy said the eight babies were believed to have died of suffocation. The CPSC said that of the two babies who died since the recall, one rolled underneath an adult pillow after being placed on the lounger, dying of positional asphyxiation, and the other "was placed on a Newborn Lounger in an adult bed with a parent and soft bedding and was later found deceased on the lounger." The cause of death was undetermined.

Trumka said that the two post-recall deaths were "unacceptable," and called on Meta to halt search ability for the product on its platform.

The Boppy loungers recalled were the Boppy Original Newborn Lounger, Boppy Preferred Newborn Lounger and Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Lounger, which were previously sold in the United States and Canada in a variety of colors and designs.

At the time, Boppy urged customers to "immediately stop using the Newborn Lounger," and offered steps on how to obtain a refund.

The CPSC said that babies "should always be placed on their backs to sleep" and advised that they are laid "on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet, or play yard." The agency added that those looking after young children "should never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers, or other items to an infant's sleeping environment."

Britain's National Health Service and UNICEF also advise people not to use pillows for babies under the age of 1.

Todd C. Frankel contributed to this report.