Baby lounger manufacturer refuses to recall product despite CPSC warning

Company pushes back against government warning, saying its lounger is ‘not a sleep product’

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 24 January 2022 19:25
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The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning urging parents to stop using some infant loungers after reports of two baby deaths.

The CPSC said that two infants were lounging on a Podster, made by the company Leachco, when they were suffocated either by the lounger or another object.

The commission said that the babies were 17 days old and 4 months old, and died in January 2018 and December 2015.

Leacho pushed back, saying in a statement that “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 Podster is not a sleep product,” the company asserted. “Even though infants can fall asleep anywhere, safe sleep guidelines and CPSC regulations draw a clear line between products intended for sleep and products not intended for sleep. 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 commission said a babies sleep surface should be flat, firm and placed in a crib, bassinet, or play yard “without blankets, pillows, or padded crib bumpers”.

The warning concerning the Podster, Podster Plush and Podster Playtime comes months after another brand of lounger was recalled.

The commission said it’s also considering other actions, including possibly filing an administrative complaint.

Leacho added in its statement that data “show that infant deaths can occur anywhere, even in cribs where sleep is the safest,” adding that they urge parents to use the lounger “as intended for supervised daytime activity only — not for sleep”.

The company also said that “banning products like the Podster will not improve safety,” but will instead leave those taking care of children “with fewer safe ways to care for awake infants”.

“For as many hours of the day that infants need care, it simply is not reasonable to expect parents and caregivers to put them in a crib,” Leacho said.

The company said the commission is “wrong” in its assessment and that it “ignores the important role loungers can have for parents”.

The CSPC issued the warning on Thursday, saying that “public health and safety” made it necessary to tell parents to “immediately stop using” the loungers because the company is “refusing” to recall them voluntarily.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) said in a statement that baby loungers “should remain available to parents and not be reviewed against the standards for sleep products, as they are not designed, intended or marketed for unsupervised overnight sleep or napping”.

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