SAN ANTONIO – Parents should stop using Leachco Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie, and Podster Playtime Infant Loungers because they pose a suffocation risk, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns.
The warning comes after reports of two infant deaths — a four-month-old boy and a 17-day-old newborn.
Approximately 180,000 Podsters have been sold.
The CPSC had asked the company to recall the products, a move Leachco rejected, claiming its products are safe when used as directed.
“Leachco has always had clear warnings on the product and its packaging not to place it in a bed or crib or use it for unsupervised sleep,” the company states on its website.
This new warning comes months after the Boppy Company recalled 3.3 million infant loungers that were linked to eight reported deaths.
Safety advocates have been warning parents never to let infants sleep on lounging pads or nursing pillows. They say babies can easily roll over into the soft pillow and block their airway. When they are unable to move their bodies, they can suffocate.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should be put to sleep on their backs on a firm, flat surface such as a crib or bassinet.
The CPSC had asked Leachco to recall the products, but the company has failed to do so, and the agency can’t force companies to recall products without taking them to court. The agency issued this warning but said it would continue to investigate the Podsters and consider other actions.
In a statement on the Leachco website, the company rejects the CPSC claims and says its products are safe when used as directed. “Leachco has always had clear warnings on the product and its packaging not to place it in a bed or crib or use it for unsupervised sleep,” the statement says. “The CPSC is wrongly telling consumers to stop using the Podster altogether instead of explaining that no lounger should be used in a crib or bed and no lounger is safe for unsupervised sleep. The loss of an infant is truly tragic and families who suffered that loss have our deepest sympathies.”
The CPSC’s warning comes several months after the Boppy Company recalled about 3.3 million infant loungers because the products were tied to a reported eight deaths. It also comes more than a year after the CPSC warned caregivers to never let infants sleep on lounging pads, which are meant for babies to sit or lie on while awake and supervised, or nursing pillows, which are meant to make breastfeeding more comfortable. The reason for the warning: When babies are left unattended or sleeping on these padded products, they may roll over or their heads may fall in a way that can block their airway and cause suffocation.