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Consumer Alert: Nursing Pillows Could Pose Suffocation Hazard, CPSC Says

(CBSNewYork) - There's a consumer alert for parents of infant children.

A government agency is warning that nursing pillows could pose a suffocation hazard.

As Laura Podesta reports, Kristen Kelly is a podcaster and mother of two young children in Cincinnati. She follows pediatricians' advice about how babies should sleep.

"So it sounds like you were always very careful, leaving the pillow, blankets out of the crib," Podesta said.

"Ford didn't have a blanket or pillow. Sounds uncomfortable, but gotta be safe," Kelly said.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission is investigating dangers associated with nursing pillows and say its initial assessment shows deaths when children are left on or near pillows, and the child rolls over, rolls off, or falls asleep. The agency is warning parents not to allow infants to sleep on nursing pillows or other pillow-like products.

Consumer Reports' Rachel Rabkin Peachman analyzed the government's databade and found 28 deaths associated with nursing pillows. She called on manufacturers for better product messaging.

"They should be clearly labeled in every instance so that parents have a very firm understanding that these products are not to be used for infant sleep," she said.

The government says nearly 1,000 infants suffocate in their sleep each year, raising concern about cribs, inclined sleepers and related consumer products. Officials issued the pillow warning even before their investigation was over.

The CPSC did not name specific brands, but says it is investigating the entire class of products.

"Basically the CPSC noticed these fatalities and wanted to get the word out immediately," Peachman said.

She says when used properly, a nursing pillow can be helpful for parents.

"It just holds the baby up so Mommy is more comfortable, and baby is more comfortable too," she said.

The government's warning is not a recall, but a message to parents that a mistake could be tragic.

For more information, click here.

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