Montgomery County Issues Warning after Infant Deaths Involving Recalled Loungers and Unsafe Sleep

DAYTON, OH (May 10, 2023) – Montgomery County’s Department of Job and Family Services is joining with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County and the Coroner’s Office in warning the public about an increase in infant deaths involving recalled loungers. So far in 2023, two deaths have involved the loungers. Six other deaths involving unsafe sleep practices have also been reported.

“Our hearts go out to all families who have experienced the loss of a precious child,” said Montgomery County Commission President Debbie Lieberman. “We want to remind everyone to double check that the products they’re using are safe for sleep and haven’t been recalled.” 

In September of 2021, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Boppy Company recalled more than 3.3 million newborn loungers after eight infant deaths were reported. Babies can suffocate if they roll, move or are placed on the lounger in a position that obstructs their breathing.

“Infants haven’t developed the strength they need to pull air in or push air out when their chest or abdomen becomes compressed or when their mouth or nose is obstructed by bedding or pillows,” said Dr. Kent Harshbarger, Montgomery County Coroner. “It also takes time for the muscles needed to move their necks and heads to fully develop, so placing them to sleep at an incline can cause them to fall asleep in a chin-to-chest position which can restrict their airway.”

Montgomery County’s EveryOne Reach One Maternal and Infant Vitality Task Force is now reminding parents, family members and friends about proper safe sleep procedures. Infants should always sleep Alone, on their Backs and in a Crib, bassinet or play yard. There should be nothing loose placed in the sleep space, such as blankets or toys which may cause the baby to suffocate. Crib bumpers of all kinds were also recently banned in the U.S. and should not be used.

Parents should not sleep with their child, either in bed, in a recliner or on the couch.

“There is no safe way to bedshare, and using products not intended for sleep puts more babies at risk of dying,” said Health Commissioner Jennifer Wentzel. “The best way for a baby to sleep is alone, on their back and in a crib.”

The terms crib, bassinet/cradle and play yard are only allowed for products that have passed rigorous safe sleep testing. Items like loungers, sleepers, nests, pods, hammocks, etc. are not safe for sleep.  

Crib standards were updated in 2019, play yard standards were updated in 2020 and bassinet/cradle standards were updated in 2015. If you have an item that is older than this, you need to double check with the manufacturer to see if an item is still safe. A good rule of thumb is if an item is older than 10 years, it likely doesn’t meet the latest standards and shouldn’t be used.   

Caregivers can search to see if an item has been recalled on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall webpage.

Montgomery County residents can take advantage of Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County’s Cribs for Kids Program which provides free cribs for eligible parents. Call 937- 224-3696 for more information.