WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following reports of two infant deaths, and a refusal to undertake a voluntary recall, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has filed an administrative complaint regarding the Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie and Podster Playtime (the “Podsters”) infant loungers manufactured by Leachco, Inc. of Ada, Oklahoma. This lawsuit comes on the heels of a Commission finding on January 20, 2022 that public health and safety necessitated warning the public of the suffocation hazard presented by the Podster.
“Infants are the most vulnerable members of our society. The Commission will not turn a blind eye on products that put them at unnecessary risk, and can lead to parents’ worst nightmare,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “Filing complaints like this one is a last resort when a manufacturer fails to respond to the type of safety concerns raised in this case, yet in the interest of protecting consumers we were left with no other options.”
According to the complaint, the product can cause airflow obstruction if an infant rolls, moves, or is placed in a position where the infant’s nose or mouth are obstructed by the Podsters. While the Podsters contain warnings and instructions regarding use of the product, the complaint states it is foreseeable caregivers will use the infant lounger for infant sleep and without supervision, and the product is defective. Under federal law, consumers’ actual use is considered in deciding whether a product is defective.
CPSC is aware of two infants who were placed on Podsters and suffocated when, due to a change in position, their noses and mouths were obstructed by the Podsters or another object. The infants, 17-days old and four-months old, died in January 2018 and December 2015 in the U.S.
The Podsters measure between 71 and 75 inches in circumference and have dimensions of approximately 23.75 x 21.5 x 8 inches. They have a padded insert and a removable cover. The covers come in a variety of prints and are either 100% polyester or a cotton/polyester blend. The covers also contain an elastic center made of a nylon/spandex blend. Approximately 180,000 Podsters have been sold.
Infant loungers like Podsters are not safe for sleep. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their back. Babies who fall asleep in an inclined or upright position should be moved to a safe sleep environment. To follow safe sleep practices, parents and caregivers should use a fitted sheet only and never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers, or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment.
Chair Hoehn-Saric, Commissioner Feldman, and Commissioner Trumka voted to approve the complaint, which seeks, among other things, that Leachco be ordered to notify every person, by mail and email, to whom the product was sold or delivered, of the defect, and offer consumers a full refund for the purchase price of the product.
Commissioner Baiocco voted to Take Other Action.
Consumers are encouraged to report incidents involving Podsters or other similar products to www.SaferProducts.gov, and CPSC reminds all consumers that the best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard.
CPSC Commissioner Statements:
Commissioner Peter Feldman statement
Commissioner Richard Trumka statement
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
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