Leading UK retailers have halted the sale of baby sleep positioners following a warning from the US Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, that the items may have caused some babies to suffocate.

The sleep positioner products, sometimes also called “nests” or “anti-roll” products, are designed to keep a baby in a certain position when sleeping but have been linked to potentially causing suffocation if infants roll from their sides to their stomachs.

After the announcement, major retailers such as Tesco, John Lewis and Mothercare immediately removed these products from sale, although it is reported that it is still possible to purchase them in the UK from some retailers and websites.

Cot death charity the Lullaby Trust recommends that to reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths infants should sleep on their backs, positioned on a firm, empty surface. This surface should not contain soft objects, toys, pillows, or loose bedding.

Brian McFerran, solicitor in the consumer law and product safety team at Leigh Day said:

“What is most alarming about this announcement is that some of these products advertise that they reduce the risk of sleep-related infant deaths, but it appears from the FDA warning that the very opposite is true.

“Products for use by parents of infants must be held to the very highest safety standards and I call on any retailers in the UK continuing to stock these products to remove them from sale immediately.”