Following an investigation by NBC News, which disclosed that at least 162 infants have lost their lives due to incidents connected to nursing pillows since 2007, the commission unanimously approved the proposed rules.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken a significant step toward the safety of infants by proposing the inaugural set of federal guidelines aimed at nursing pillows, which have been linked to multiple infant deaths over the years. The unanimous vote by the commission’s four members—comprising three Democrats and one Republican—came in favor of design modifications and more explicit warning labels for the commonly used U-shaped pillows.
Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner at CPSC, highlighted that these changes aim to “retain the beneficial aspects of nursing pillows—making it easier for caregivers to feed infants—while eliminating the risks associated with their use for sleep.” He added that this proposal is a stride toward eradicating avoidable infant sleep fatalities.
The newly proposed measures, which were suggested by the CPSC staff last month, necessitate that nursing pillows should be “sufficiently firm” to lessen the risk of conforming to an infant’s face, a factor leading to suffocation. Moreover, the design must allow enough room to prevent restriction of the baby’s head movements, thereby ensuring unobstructed airflow.
Though most current nursing pillows do feature cautionary tags advising against their use for sleep or unsupervised times with infants, the upcoming rules will mandate that these warnings be prominently displayed and not easily removable. Another noteworthy change is the banning of straps on nursing pillows, which can falsely lead parents to believe that it is safe to step away from their babies.
The public will have 60 days to comment on this proposal once it is officially published in the Federal Register, expected to occur this week. Following the feedback, CPSC will then review and finalize the regulations, which could take a significant amount of time, possibly spanning months to years.
Interestingly, well before the CPSC’s proposed guidelines were made public, major manufacturers in the nursing pillow sector formed the Breastfeeding Infant Development Support Alliance, aimed at lobbying against such regulations. The group contends that these measures would adversely affect breastfeeding mothers by imposing governmental decisions over maternal needs.
This move by the CPSC follows an NBC News investigation last month, revealing that at least 162 infants had died in incidents involving nursing pillows since 2007. Most fatalities occurred when babies were put to sleep on or alongside these pillows. The CPSC’s proposal also cited that between 2010 and 2022, there were 154 deaths related to nursing pillows, including suffocation, asphyxia, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Nursing pillows, which assist in correctly positioning babies for breastfeeding and alleviate strain for parents, are regularly featured on baby registries. Roughly 1.34 million units are sold annually in the United States.
Though CPSC had been aware of the hazards posed by nursing pillows, it only issued a consumer warning in 2020, stating that such cushions “are not designed for sleep and are not safe for sleep.”
Support for the CPSC’s proposal was expressed by Nancy Cowles, the executive director of the advocacy group Kids In Danger. She lauded the regulations, particularly stressing the importance of firmer pillows, and stated, “It will definitely reduce the risk and lower the chances of deaths on nursing pillows.”
Navigating a Nursing Pillow Infant Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you’ve suffered the tragic loss of an infant due to a product that was supposed to aid in their care—like nursing pillows—you may be considering a wrongful death lawsuit. The first step in such a legal process involves consulting an experienced attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases or product liability. It’s crucial to act quickly as there may be statutes of limitations that apply to wrongful death claims. The attorney can help you determine whether you have a viable case, the parties that may be liable, and the damages you may be able to recover.
Your attorney will likely begin by gathering all relevant evidence, including medical records, product labels, and any correspondence with the manufacturer or retailer. Expert witnesses may be called upon to testify about the product’s design, the safety regulations in place, and the medical factors involved in your infant’s death. Furthermore, you may need to establish a direct link between the product’s defectiveness or lack of adequate warning and the tragic event. This is often a complex process that requires professional legal assistance to navigate successfully.
Given that nursing pillows are currently under investigation, and some initial steps towards federal regulations have been made, a lawsuit could draw upon these points to bolster your case. Regulatory findings may serve as powerful evidence to demonstrate a product’s potential hazards, especially if the manufacturer was aware of these risks but failed to act responsibly. Wrongful death suits not only provide a path for grieving families to find some form of financial relief but also serve to hold manufacturers accountable, potentially preventing future tragedies.
Remember, each case is unique, and this information is not a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact us for your free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss the particulars of your situation.
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Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by dangerous products like this defective product. For your free consultation, contact our national product liability law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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