Consumer Alert: CPSC to parents — Stop using your Boppy pillow now!

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — If you have a baby, you likely have a Boppy pillow or a baby lounger. They’re incredibly popular because they provide a comfortable place for the baby to sit while mom and dad are busy. But these products are potentially deadly. If the baby falls asleep, that soft, comfortable pillow puts your little one at risk of suffocation.

That’s why Thursday the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the mandatory recall of the Boppy Preferred Newborn Loungers and the Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Loungers after eight babies died over the last five years while sleeping on Boppy pillows.

As I reported three weeks ago, your baby can suffocate on the plush pillow when she falls asleep and either she rolls over or her head fall into a position that blocks her airway. That’s why experts say your child should always sleep on her back while lying on a flat surface free of blankets, bumpers or stuffed toys.

If you have one of these recalled pillows, contact The Boppy Co. for a refund at 800-416-1355 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday) online.

While the Boppy company is issuing the mandatory recall, it’s important to note that Consumer Reports‘ analysis of public data found that since 2012, the deaths of 35 babies have been tied to a number of brands of lounging and nursing pillows.

That data calls into question the safety of any lounging or nursing pillow.

Nursing pillows have long been viewed as essential for mothers who are breastfeeding because you can place the pillow around your waist giving you support while you prop your baby into the optimal position to breastfeed. But last year, the CPSC issued a strict warning about nursing and lounging pillows, reminding parents that babies should never sleep on the pillows.

And on its website, Boppy warns, “Use Boppy infant products ONLY supervised awake time.”

But the challenge lies in the fact that every parent knows you are more sleep-deprived when caring for a newborn than you have ever been at any time in your life. Your exhaustion increases the risk that you could fall asleep while baby is resting on the pillow. And the American Academy of Pediatrics stresses that a nursing pillow should never be used while the baby or parent is asleep.

But here’s the deal: Mothers who are breastfeeding consider nursing pillows lifesavers. In the first few months, your baby needs to nurse a lot, and each feeding can be as long as an hour each time. You need arm, shoulder, and back support. But if you use any nursing pillow, you must be vigilant. Babies often fall asleep after nursing. When that happens, she must be placed on her back on a flat surface.

The folks at Wirecutter, the consumer product division of the New York Times have analyzed nursing pillows and they have some recommendations. Click here for that.