A new warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Thursday (January 20), urging consumers to immediately stop using the Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie, and Podster Playtime infant loungers manufactured by Leachco, Inc. of Ada, Oklahoma.

Those products have been linked to the deaths of two infants in the United States.

Approximately 180,000 have been sold across the country.

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The loungers 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 deaths were the result of infants who changed positions while sleeping in a lounger and suffocated when their airways were obstructed by the product's cushion.

The CPSC is reminding parents that infant loungers are not safe for sleeping and that babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep.

Consumers are encouraged to report incidents from Podsters or other similar products to saferproducts.gov.

In response to Thursday's warning from the CPSC, Leachco Inc released a statement disputing the claims about their products:

Since 1988, Leachco, a family-owned company in Ada, Oklahoma, has made safe, innovative and quality products to support families and infants. The entire Leach family, including founders Clyde and Jamie Leach, and now their adult children, Mabry, Alex, and Andrew, are in the business of helping mothers, fathers and caregivers with the difficult task of caring for infants who need constant daytime care and supervision.

Leachco’s Podster®, an infant lounger, is made in the United States and has been sold to nearly 180,000 families since it was introduced 12 years ago in 2009. The Podster® is specifically designed to help with daytime care of awake infants for the countless times each day when parents and caregivers need to free up their hands for the activities of daily life. The Podster® provides a safe, secure spot to place an infant on its back as the parent or caregiver supervises hands-free, able to prepare a meal, pay bills, check email, give a hand to siblings and many other daily tasks. The Podster® helps babies and is loved by parents and caregivers. The Leach family has used the Podster® for their own children and grandchildren, and they stand firmly by the safety and value of the products they provide to the public.

The Podster® is not a sleep product. 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 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. Unfortunately, the statistics show that infant deaths can occur anywhere, even in cribs where sleep is the safest. Leachco supports the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep guidelines and urges families to use the Podster® as intended for supervised daytime activity only—not for sleep.

Leachco believes that banning products like the Podster® will not improve safety. In fact, it will leave families and caregivers with fewer safe ways to care for awake infants. Infant care requires constant attention. It can be an exhausting job and parents and caregivers need products to help them. 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.

The CPSC’s claims are wrong. The agency ignores the important role loungers can have for parents and makes the wrong choice for families. Leachco stands by the Podster®’s quality, safety and value.

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