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Sale of self-feeding pillows banned after CCPC rules they pose 'risk of death or serious harm'

The products are to be withdrawn from sale immediately.

THE SALE OF self-feeding pillows has been banned by the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). 

According to the regulator, the product, which is placed around the baby’s neck so that the bottle is held in position by a piece of elastic or a pouch, poses a “risk of death or serious harm” due a “danger of choking” for infants.

The CCPC said today the products are to be withdrawn from sale immediately.

People who find baby self-feeding pillows for sale in Ireland, either online or in retail stores, are “urged to report them to the CCPC immediately”.

“They they do not comply with safety regulations and are dangerous products. Irish businesses are instructed not to import these products,” the CCPC said in a statement. 

It follows a similar move in the UK where the product was banned last month.

A self-feeding pillow is designed to hold a bottle, keep it in the baby’s mouth and free up the parent’s hands, allowing the baby to feed itself while positioned on its back. It is designed so that the caregiver does not need to hold the bottle and control the feed.

But the watchdog has warned this could have tragic consequences: “In this situation the baby will not be able to control the flow of milk and the milk will continue to flow even if the baby is not swallowing.

“This can lead to choking. Choking can be silent and a baby will not have the dexterity or cognitive behaviour to otherwise raise the alarm.”

It could also lead to aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when milk goes into the lungs rather than the stomach.

“This could occur if the flow of milk is too fast and the baby is not able to keep up by swallowing the milk,” a statement from the CCPC said. 

Clara Thornton, CCPC Director of Product Safety, said the products also “go against HSE advice” on safe bottle-feeding.

“If any consumer comes across these products they should report them to the CCPC,” she added. 

The HSE’s National Clinical Lead for the Child Health Public Health Programme agreed that using a self-feeding pillow could be dangerous. 

“Never leave your baby to drink a bottle on their own. Propping or leaning the bottle using a pillow, self-feeding pillow or any other support can be dangerous. Doing this could cause your baby to choke,” Dr Abigail Collins said.

 The CCPC pointed to HSE advice on safe bottle-feeding which states that a caregiver should:

  • always hold the baby in their arms when bottle feeding
  • always hold the bottle in their hand
  • never lean or prop the bottle against a self-feeding pillow or any other support
  • never leave the baby to drink a bottle on their own 

For further guidance on child safety and baby self-feeding pillows visit the CCPC website here.

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