Two Risks of Bedsharing With A Baby Lounger

October 5, 2023

I’m Tiffany.
I'm a safe cosleeping educator and mom of two little boys.
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Images of cute babies sleeping in plush, soft, nest-like loungers are all over social media. They lead new parents to believe that they are safe for bedsharing, but unfortunately they are problematic.

It is not safe to bedshare with a baby lounger, nest, or pod. They introduce the two risks of suffocation and SIDS. Instead of putting baby in a lounger when you bedshare, cuddle curl around them on a firm, flat, level and clear surface.

Listen to this 7-minute episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

In our conversation on natural parenting, Tracy Gillett mentioned that as a brand new bedsharer, she wondered if she needed to put her newborn in some sort of container on her bed.

Even though she had already read Safe Infant Sleep by Dr. James McKenna and knew all the safety guidelines by heart, she was still nervous about relying on the cuddle curl, alone, to keep her son safe beside her.

Most modern parents relate.

What Are Baby Loungers?

Baby loungers are often called pods or nests. They look like a cozy cocoon for your baby: they’re soft and plush.

Before it was recalled, the Boppy Newborn Lounger was beloved by many parents who discovered that even the fussiest of newborns tended to relax in the round, slightly recessed cushion. Other loungers are rectangular or oval-shaped, with a raised perimeter surrounding a cushioned pad. 

NBC News

Some brands focus on the convenience of being able to put your baby down while you do something that requires two hands, and they stress the importance of supervision at all times baby is in the lounger.

But many other brands target cosleeping families, marketing their lounger as a helpful tool for the family bed. They claim that their lounger will keep baby securely in one place, and its padded sides will prevent overlay (i.e. parents accidentally rolling onto the baby in their sleep).

Why Are Baby Loungers Controversial?

Unfortunately we know that images of soft and squishy items like loungers counter what we know about safe infant sleep.

It’s well known that loungers lead to fatalities — in general, not just in the context of bedsharing.

In fact, currently in the United States, some politicians are working to have loungers completely banned.

They’ve got a long road ahead of them. It’s difficult to regulate everything that’s imported from other countries. NBC News reported that in 2022, a 4-month-old died from asphyxiation on a lounger produced in China that was advertised on Amazon as “perfect for co-sleeping.”

Further, even when certain loungers are officially recalled, they are still donated, sold secondhand on Facebook Marketplace, or handed down from friends or family.

The average parent has no idea there are any risks.

Why Do Some Parents Bedshare With Loungers?

I polled our Cosleepy Instagram community and 25% of parents said they’ve used a lounger at least once.

And another 15% reported that they did not use one, but they seriously considered it.

Many of these parents admitted to knowing that loungers were dangerous, beforehand. I asked them why they ultimately made the decision to use one, despite knowing the risks.

Here are some of the reasons why they used a lounger, nest or pod while bedsharing:

  • They felt it was the safest way to bedshare while traveling (e.g. in a hotel room, AirBnB, friend’s guest room, etc.).
  • They found the cuddle curl too uncomfortable and wanted to sleep on their back. They felt safer doing this with baby in a lounger beside them.
  • They constantly heard that babies need to sleep in a “separate space,” so a lounger felt like a good compromise between bedsharing and separate sleep.
  • They thought it’d one day make an easier transition to the bassinet or crib.
  • They used it on the couch, after hearing that bringing your baby into your bed is dangerous. They hoped the couch would somehow be safer.
  • They felt that it provided a barrier that would prevent them from rolling onto the baby.
  • They were against using one, but their partner talked them into it.

Is It Safe To Bedshare Using A Lounger?

No, it is not safe to bedshare with a baby lounger, nest, or pod. Using one increases the risks of suffocation and SIDS.

According to BASIS, soft and squishy items like loungers create two hazards for babies:

  1. Loungers can block a baby’s nose and mouth, which will make breathing difficult (or impossible).
  2. Loungers can insulate a baby’s head and prevent them from loosing heat, leading to overheating.

The two separate risks here are suffocation and SIDS.

Suffocation can occur when baby’s airway is covered by a lounger blocking their nose and mouth.

And the physiological stresses of overheating or struggling to breathe (due to airway covering) are both associated with SIDS.

What is the Safe Way to Bedshare With Your Baby?

While some safe bedsharing guidelines vary by organization or country, there is one thing that everyone agrees on.

Bedsharing needs to be happen on a safe surface.

These are the four components to a safe bedsharing surface:

  1. Firm
  2. Flat
  3. Level
  4. Clear

A lounger is not a safe surface.

If you need to put your baby down for their nap, think outside the box. You’re a creative problem-solver, and you can figure out a safer way to do it than using a lounger.

Simply decide where you want to be. And then create a firm, flat, level, and clear space for baby.

Here are examples of sleep spaces that are more safe than a lounger:

  • On the floor in front of you, as you watch TV on the couch.
  • In a travel crib in the corner of your home office, as you clear emails.
  • On your mattress, as you lie beside them scrolling your phone.

Why You Need to Learn to Love the Cuddle Curl

Your body is safer than any baby product on the market.

We are all here, today, because thousands of generations simply slept beside their baby.

They never touched a baby lounger.

Your body is enough to keep your baby safe beside you.

To boost your confidence in using the cuddle curl as your #1 tool to keep your baby safe beside you, get my Cuddle Curl FAQ guide. It addresses all the common Q’s regarding safety, comfort, and logistics.

If you can figure out how to cuddle curl safely and comfortably, I promise you that you will never think about that lounger, ever again.

You got this. Really.

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