Over 160 Infant Deaths Linked to Nursing Pillows

Over 160 Infant Deaths Linked to Nursing Pillows

Tragic tales of infant lives cut short by seemingly harmless baby products have become all too familiar. Tainted formula, infant sleepers, baby rockers, and more have injured children nationwide. Among these, nursing pillows may join the growing list of hazardous products of which caretakers should be cautious. An NBC News investigation has shed light on several stories of family tragedy in connection to nursing pillows. The disturbing reports uncovered over 160 infant deaths linked to nursing pillows. In this blog, we will explore the industry responses and regulatory measures, or lack thereof, to better understand why these products have gone unchecked.  

Over 160 Infant Deaths Linked to Nursing Pillows  

Nursing pillows are common infant accessories intended to cradle and comfort a baby during breastfeeding. It is not out of the ordinary for new parents to have at least one nursing pillow in their household. In fact, manufacturers sell over 1.34 million nursing pillows in the U.S. annually. However, these products have become the source of immense suffering for families whose children died while nestled in the embrace of a nursing pillow.  

A staggering 162 infants, all under the age of one, have met untimely deaths since 2007 in incidents involving nursing pillows. The majority of the infants were less than 4 months old, while the youngest was just three days old. NBC compiled this alarming number from hundreds of public records alongside internal federal data. The heart of the problem lies in the suffocation risk and airway constriction when babies are left unsupervised on the pillows. With nursing pillows, babies may sink into the pillows or lean back too far, making it hard for them to breathe. Also, babies can bury their faces in the soft pillows, suffocating while their parents sleep nearby.  

Even when the cause of death was unclear, nursing pillows were recurring factors in the incidents.  

Companies Block Regulatory Action  

Devastated parents lament that they had no idea nursing pillows could harm their babies.  

The unfortunate incidents involving nursing pillows have highlighted the delay in regulatory action despite decades of awareness about the hazards at play. It was only in 2020 that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a stern warning to consumers, cautioning against the use of nursing pillows for sleep. While the CPSC’s warning was a step in the right direction, it showed the disconnect between infant danger and timely intervention.  

Three years after the 2020 warning, the CPSC plans to propose new safety rules to make nursing pillows safer. However, several baby product manufacturers are pushing back against the CPSC, including surprising dissent from the Breastfeeding Infant Development Support Alliance. This coalition, backed by companies like The Boppy Company and Snuggle Me Organic, has embarked on a lobbying and PR campaign that paints their cause as a crusade for women’s rights and parental choice against government overreach.  

However, the Boppy Company has been in hot water for its alleged role in jeopardizing the lives of infants. The now recalled Boppy Newborn Lounger has been linked to 10 infant deaths. Although designed to provide a relaxing space, babies could enter a position that obstructs their breathing. 

Recommendations to Stop Infant Deaths Connected to Nursing Pillows  

To date, federal regulators have only recalled one nursing pillow. Despite the rising reports of infants dying on nursing pillows, companies continue to engage in unsafe marketing practices. Experts state nursing pillow companies must shift their focus away from nursing pillows for multipurpose use. Companies claim the pillows are great not only for breastfeeding but also for tummy time, sitting, or reclining. Yet, this supposed versatility may trick caretakers into thinking these nursing pillows are safe for sleeping.   

Other solutions include changing the design of nursing pillows to have firmer and clearer edges. These alterations would make nursing pillows safer than the rounded, tube-shaped ones because firmer pillows would not be as comfortable to place babies on. Some experts also suggest widening the pillow’s curve, so it’s more challenging to prop up babies on them. 

The Lake Law Firm Can Support You 

The CPSC is expected to unveil its plan to regulate nursing pillows in the coming weeks.  

However, because of the long process of making rules, which involves getting public opinions, the fight might continue for many years. 

The Lake Law Firm is not waiting on the sidelines. Our firm is dedicated to helping families whose infants have been harmed by hazardous products. We have experience in cases involving contaminated formula, sleepers, and loungers. Like many, we are frustrated at companies’ disregard for infant safety. If your child was harmed by one of the above-mentioned products or a nursing pillow, call (888) 525-3529 today to see if you qualify for a potential claim.