Charity warns sleeping pods and baby nests ‘pose a risk’ to newborns could lead to death 

Parents have been warned of the risks of ‘sleeping pods’ for babies which are placed in their beds as an inquest has heard how a little boy died after being placed in one such product.

Leonidas Ramsden was just four months old when he was found unresponsive at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, on April 28 last year. 

A hearing yesterday was told he had been ‘fed and placed in a sleeping pod upstairs on his parents’ bed’ before being found unresponsive some hours later.

And it has now emerged that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) charity the Lullaby Trust has warned against the baby products – made popular by mummy bloggers and celebrities – which are widely available on websites such as Amazon. 

In a previous warning to parents, it said in an open letter: ‘Items such as cushioned sleeping pods, nests, baby hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets and anything that wedges or straps a baby in place can pose a risk to babies under 12 months. 

‘Evidence shows that sleeping a baby on anything but a firm, flat surface, or using soft, heavy bedding, can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Leonidas Ramsden (pictured) was found unresponsive at his home in Buckfastleigh, Devon, on April 28 last year, at just over four months old

Grace Joy Roseman died after being put to bed in a luxury £300 cot in 2016

Grace Joy Roseman died after being put to bed in a luxury £300 cot in 2016

‘They can lead to overheating or potentially obstruct a baby’s airway if they roll or their face becomes covered by loose bedding.’

Leonidas’s inquest showed no suspicious circumstances and a post mortem could not ascertain the cause of death for him.

It is not yet known what type or brand of sleeping pod he was placed in on the night he died. 

Four years before his death in 2017, Tesco and Mothercare were among a string of British retailers to stop selling the products due to safety concerns. 

They are still widely available on Amazon.

In 2016 a baby girl died in a cot branded a ‘significant hazard’ to any child old enough to lift their head.

Seven-week-old Grace Roseman died of asphyxiation in the ‘dangerous’ £199 Bednest cot after she became caught on the edge when she lifted her head over one of the fold-down sides, an inquest heard.

The webpage of the Bednest luxury cot, one of many such options being sold online

The webpage of the Bednest luxury cot, one of many such options being sold online

And 2021 a mother warned parents against using sleep pods after finding her baby ‘gasping for air’.

Chloe Elliott had left her daughter Maisie in her pod for just three minutes as she nipped downstairs to get some washing.

When she came back, the nine-week-old was struggling to breathe, ‘her skin was mottled and purple and she was covered in sweat’.        

A spokesperson for The Lullaby Trust previously said: ‘As a SIDS charity, we have watched with concern as products that go against safer sleep advice gain popularity. 

How should my baby sleep? 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has previously told parents they should follow this guidance:

  • Best place for an infant to sleep is on a firm, flat surface such as that in a crib;
  • Parents and caregivers should use a fitted sheet only and never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers or other items;
  • Infants should always be placed to sleep on their back;
  • Infants who fall asleep in an inclined or upright position should be moved to a safe sleep environment. 

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission.

‘It is hard for parents when they are trying to choose from the overwhelming number of baby products on offer and many people make the reasonable assumption that if an item is sold on the high street or made by a recognised brand it is safe for their baby.’ 

Leonadis’s mother Akita wrote a heart-wrenching appeal for funds to help pay for a memorial in the wake of her son’s death last year.  

She said: ‘We are devastated and lost, feeling stuck in a reality that shouldn’t exist. We will never feel complete again.

‘I’m 21 years old. I have made two perfect, beautiful children. My daughter Azaylea and my son Leonidas-Aurelius. We fell in love the moment I met them…

‘Our son Leonidas-Aurelius was 4 months and 3 days old when he rolled over in the middle of the night while his family slept. He didn’t cry… he didn’t wake up… he just slipped away in his sleep with small sweet smile on his face.

‘The moment me and my partner woke from a couple hours napping. We had to face the most reality shattering and horrific realisation… that Leonidas-Aurelius, the perfect soul had left the beautiful vessel we had created.’ 

She added: ‘Leo had the most beautiful low tones to his voice and he loved the sound of it… he was always showing off his lovely cooing sounds but most of all he loved to roar. 

‘When you held his hands he would hold on and lift himself into the air… Always smiling and holding his head high. He was such a beautiful sight… 4 months and 3 days of showering him in love and kisses was the best moments of my life.’ 

A full inquest will be held a later date. 

Amazon has been contacted for comment.