U.S. Lawmakers Push for New Regulations and Wider Recall Implementation Amid Rising Infant Deaths Linked to Loungers.
U.S. legislators are urging for the abolition of infant loungers in light of relevant recalls and associated infant fatalities. An NBC News inquiry conducted this year revealed that a minimum of 25 deaths have been connected to these baby loungers since 2015, all tied to multiple recalls across various brands.
A picture of a Boppy brand baby lounger marks the date: July 18, 2023. Two congressional members are demanding the federal authorities to act against infant loungers – a subject of multiple recalls due to linked deaths – as an NBC News probe exposed a greater number of fatalities linked to these products than previously acknowledged.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) submitted a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Friday. They expressed their concern over the infant loungers, products at the heart of numerous recalls, as they posed potential threats to infants’ lives.
The legislators insisted on a stringent rule that would terminate the use of infant loungers and similar products often misunderstood by parents as safe for infant sleep, citing the many recalls and reported fatalities linked to their use.
According to an NBC report, there have been no less than 25 infant deaths connected to baby loungers since 2015. Notably, in September 2021, the federal government recalled over 3 million infant loungers produced by The Boppy Company due to their link to eight infant suffocation deaths, underscoring the serious safety concerns.
Despite the massive recall, fatalities continued to transpire with the Boppy Newborn Lounger and products from other manufacturers. The NBC investigation revealed that newborns could suffocate on the soft surface of these loungers, or their bodies could get caught in positions leading to asphyxiation.
While Boppy and other brands have maintained that their loungers – products that have been recalled in the past – were not intended for sleep, medical professionals have pointed out that newborns could easily fall asleep on such cushioned surfaces, putting them at an increased risk of suffocation and asphyxiation. This issue is further exacerbated by the ongoing portrayal of infants sleeping in loungers on social media platforms.
The CPSC is projected to introduce new safety norms for infant loungers, products with a history of recalls, in the upcoming weeks. Potential changes may include obligatory warning labels to banning certain lounger designs, contingent on the commission’s mandates. Any new rules would undergo a comprehensive, lengthy procedure involving public review and feedback.
CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric commended Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Schakowsky for their dedication towards the mission of safeguarding babies from dangerous products such as the recalled loungers. He expressed eagerness towards their continued backing as the commission strives to formulate performance standards to enhance product safety.
Additionally, Blumenthal and Schakowsky lauded the CPSC’s move to sue Leachco following the manufacturer’s reluctance to comply with a product recall. The CPSC had previously reported two deaths linked to Leachco’s loungers. The safety commission’s lawsuit hearing against Leachco is scheduled for August 7.
Leachco defended the safety of its loungers when used appropriately and lodged a countersuit against the federal agency. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the company.
Recently, the CPSC cautioned the public against using a lounger sold exclusively on Amazon by Gorsetle US after the company refused to participate in a recall. The product seems to have been withdrawn from Amazon’s online platform. Amazon declined to comment, and Gorsetle also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In response to the legislators’ letter to the CPSC, Boppy refrained from commenting but directed NBC News to their previous critique of Meta for inadequate effort in halting the resale of its recalled loungers on Facebook Marketplace.
In June, the CPSC and Boppy reiterated their recall of the company’s loungers due to their widespread availability on platforms such as Facebook, citing two more deaths linked to the product since the initial recall in 2021.
Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, they have previously stated that Facebook Marketplace’s regulations prohibit the sale of recalled items and that they remove listings that contravene these policies.
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