What to Know About Baby Loungers

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 11, 2022
5 min read

As a new parent, you want to do everything that you can to keep your little one safe. You’ve probably spent hours baby-proofing your home, reading all the baby books, and studying up on safety tips for having a newborn. You buy all the best baby gear to ensure you never have to worry about your baby being in danger.

But what if some of that baby gear isn’t as safe as it seems? Here’s what you need to know about a baby lounger, a trendy pillow for babies that might not be as safe as you think.

A baby lounger is an oversized pillow with a groove or dent in the middle. They are designed to put your infant in the middle of the pillow to rest comfortably in an inclined position. Many parents find this helpful when doing household tasks nearby, and they need to set their baby down somewhere safe where they can still keep an eye on them.

A baby lounger chair can also be useful when your infant is awake and alert. In this position, your baby can interact with you, play with toys, or see what’s happening around them. Some parents also find them helpful during breastfeeding. The baby lounger is designed to keep your baby in place and comfortable without the need to hook them into straps or a seatbelt so you can easily scoop them back up when you need to.

A baby lounger seems like a handy tool, but is a baby lounger safe? This positioner is generally safe when your baby is awake, but you should never let your infant sleep in a baby lounger. Several products have been recalled after reports of infants dying while falling asleep in infant loungers.

Babies sleeping in a lounger are at risk of rolling over or shifting into a position that can block their airways. This can lead to suffocation due to the inclined position of the baby. Between 2012 and 2018, Consumer Reports discovered 28 infant deaths linked to nursing pillows or baby loungers. As of 2021, Consumer Reports learned of seven more deaths and one injury caused by these pillows.

These deaths and injuries aren’t only linked to one brand, so there isn’t just one potentially dangerous product on the market. While several of these companies comply with national safety guidelines, the danger occurs when children are left to sleep in baby loungers, especially when they have blankets or soft toys nearby.

If you have a baby lounger, you can look up the brand and model to see if yours has been recalled. Certain products have been recalled from nationwide retailers as well as Amazon. You can return your product for a possible refund.

The only safe baby lounger is one that is used under constant supervision while your baby is alert and awake. This helps ensure that your baby’s airways are always open. Some companies claim that baby loungers can position babies to sleep who are less than six months old. They raise your baby’s head and keep them inside the lounger so that it forms a nest. Even with this claim, never let your baby fall asleep in one.

A baby lounger can be very helpful for moms who are breastfeeding. These pillows put your baby into a comfortable position that allows them to feed. While your baby is in the lounger, it’s important to correctly position their head and neck so that the airways remain free and clear. A baby lounger can also be comfortable for mothers since you don’t have to hold their baby. Since many babies fall asleep while nursing, you should move your baby to a flat surface instead of letting them continue to sleep in the baby lounger.

In addition to suffocation, using a baby lounger for sleeping is linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the quick and unexplained death of an infant less than one-year-old. It often occurs during sleep and is the leading cause of death for infants in this age range.

If you know you will be multitasking and need to put your baby down, a safer option could be a playpen. While babies in a playpen need to be supervised as well, you can put your baby down flat and not worry about them falling asleep or rolling into a potentially dangerous position in case you need to look away for a moment.

Now that you know never to let your baby fall asleep in a baby lounger, here are a few other tips to keep in mind.

Flat surfaces. Your baby should always sleep on a firm, flat surface, like a crib, bassinet, or cradle, with a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet. Make sure that their sleeping space is free from soft objects, like pillows, blankets, or toys, since these could cause suffocation.

Sleep on their back. When you put your baby to bed or down for a nap, always put them down on their back. Babies who sleep on their backs have a much lower risk of dying from SIDS compared to babies who sleep on their tummies or sides. Some parents worry that their baby can choke on spit-up if their baby is on their back, but this won’t happen. A baby’s gag reflex will naturally stop this from occurring.

Babies should sleep alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that babies sleep alone in their own crib or cradle and not in the same bed as their parents. They recommend having your baby sleep in the same room as you until they are at least six months old. However, babies who sleep alone may have up to a 50% less chance of dying from SIDS than babies who sleep in an adult bed with their parents.