Baby sleeping bags sold on online marketplaces and by trusted retailers such as JoJo Maman Bébé pose serious safety risks that could cause a child to choke, suffocate or overheat, a new investigation from Which? has found.
The consumer champion found that 12 out of 15 baby sleeping bags bought from online marketplaces, as well as high street stores and online from leading brands, failed its safety tests. The bags were chosen to be tested if they came up as the first relevant product when searching online and had to be described and fit the look of a traditional baby sleeping bag.
All nine sleeping bags from online marketplaces AliExpress, Amazon Marketplace, eBay, Etsy and Wish failed at least one of Which?’s tests, with some posing major safety risks to babies’ lives, raising serious questions about the limited responsibilities of platforms for ensuring products sold on their sites are safe.
Sleeping bags bought from JoJo Maman Bébé, Aldi and Grobag also failed Which?’s safety testing by either posing a safety risk or failing to adhere to British standards.
Baby sleeping bags can be a safer alternative to traditional cot blankets as they prevent babies’ faces from accidentally getting covered during the night, which can lead to suffocation. Yet Which? found sleeping bags sold by third-party sellers on online marketplaces and even some popular retailers could be putting infants’ lives at risk.
Which? runs rigorous lab tests to ensure baby sleeping bags are safe to use. This includes checking the neck opening is the right size, ensuring fasteners and buttons are secure and that the sleeping bag is free from loose threads and strangulation hazards.
Each bag is also checked to ensure it states accurate tog levels – so babies do not overheat – and includes all key safety instructions. If a product does not pass all tests, it is deemed unsafe.
Which? found that seven of the 12 sleeping bags that failed, were deemed to be serious failures meaning that they could cause a baby harm or endanger its life.
Raising the most concerns, Which? found that three sleeping bags, including one purchased from AliExpress, one from Wish and one from boutique retailer Jojo Maman Bébé, had wide-neck openings that were too big for the age they were advertised for.
Neck openings that are too wide could lead to a baby slipping down into the bag and suffocating.
Another sleeping bag purchased from AliExpress presented a choking risk to babies, as Which? testing found the button inside the hood could be easily pulled off. This bag also did not come with any safety instructions.
A fox-themed baby sleeping bag sold on Wish.com raised concerns as the tog level exceeded the upper recommended level by 26 per cent, which could cause overheating. Again, there were no safety instructions with the bag.
A sleeping bag purchased from Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, failed testing as it did not mention the height and age the bag is designed for. It is vital that baby products are used for the right age group, especially sleeping bags as a product could endanger an infant if it is too big.
One sleeping bag sold on eBay failed testing due to long, loose and free-hanging labels or threads that could catch on the fingers of small babies as they move around or lead to strangulation. It also had no safety instructions or warnings.
A further five baby sleeping bags had less serious safety concerns but failed to meet British safety standards.
Both ‘Amazon’s Choice’ baby sleeping bags and a separate one from eBay failed to meet official standards due to labelling issues, either because they were longer than standards specify, the label was in the wrong position or because they did not include important safety warnings.
Aldi’s Cloud Baby Sleep Bag and Tommee Tippee’s The Original GroBag also had less serious safety concerns, but both fell short of British standards due to loose hanging labels.
Only three sleeping bags – from Asda, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas – passed all Which?’s safety tests and met British safety standards.
Despite the huge growth in online shopping in recent years, online marketplaces have very limited responsibility for ensuring products sold on their sites are safe. Alarmingly, every baby sleeping bag Which? purchased from an online marketplace failed safety tests.
Following Which?’s investigation, Amazon, AliExpress and eBay have removed all of the baby sleeping bags that failed its tests from their sites.
While it is important that online marketplaces do more to prevent the sale of unsafe products from their platforms, Which? is now calling on the government to make online marketplaces legally responsible for the safety of products sold on their site, so consumers can shop with confidence.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
“Parents will find it completely unacceptable that Which?’s investigation has found such a high number of dangerous products that could pose a potentially life-threatening risk to their baby as it sleeps.
“Consumers must be able to trust that if they buy a product in the UK from a well-known retailer or online marketplace that it will be safe and meet the safety standards required in this country.
“The government must step in to make online marketplaces legally responsible for the safety of the products sold on their sites. We also expect retailers to remove any unsafe products from sale.”
Notes to editors
- Which? will pass the findings of this research on to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
- Last year, seven in 10 (70%) online marketplace shoppers told Which? they agree the law needs changing so that these sites are made legally responsible.
- Video available for use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcZufu_Ix54
- For advice when buying baby sleeping bags, go to: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/09/which-safety-tests-uncover-dangerous-baby-sleeping-bags/’
Dangerous baby sleeping bags images and testing failure details
JoJo Maman Bebe Nautical Lightweight Baby Sleeping Bag, £32
The JoJo Maman Bebe bag Which? tested was for 6-18 months and the neck opening should not have exceeded 39cm. But, in testing revealed the neck opening was too big at 40.6cm.
Three key safety warnings were missing, including warnings about ensuring that the neck and arm openings are securely fastened, to not use if the child can climb out of the cot and to not use in combination with other bedding.
Baby newborn sleeveless baby sleeping bag, sold by Bloom Baby, £18 – bought through AliExpress
The neck opening is too big for a baby up to six months old – Which? measured it as 35.4cm in tests. This means that the baby could slip down inside the bag and suffocate.
This sleeping bag also gets too hot – in tests Which? measured the tog level to be 4.2 when it shouldn’t exceed 4. Additionally, the instructions failed to include five key safety warnings for parents.
Baby sleeping bag/Cocoon stroller, sold by Housebay 01 store, £34 – bought through AliExpress
In assessments Which? found openings that a baby could get their finger trapped in and the button inside the hood could easily be pulled off, presenting a choking risk. It also came with no instructions at all.
Despite being listed as one on AliExpress by the seller. It looks more like something you’d find in a stroller.
The major safety risk this product would cause a baby is the hood – baby sleeping bags should not have hoods because of the suffocation risk.
Cotton nursery bedding, sold by Coolcatsetsuna, £7 – bought through eBay
In tests Which? found threads hanging off of this bag that were longer than allowed by the standard. Loose threads are a problem because a baby could pull them turning them into a strangulation or tourniquet hazard.
Furthermore, this baby sleeping bag came with no safety instructions or warnings whatsoever.
Sweet Dreams Little Star Wearable Infant Blanket, sold by TwinkleTwinkleTees £19.99 – bought through Etsy
The height and age the bag is designed for are not mentioned on the product and no instructions were provided with it, making it an instant fail in Which? tests.
Baby child sleeping bag, sold by Good Things, £19 – bought through Wish
A baby sleeping bag that looks more like a dress-up costume should set alarm bells ringing. The zip was far too easy to pull open, which could mean a baby could get tangled in the bag or get a finger trapped.
This bag got far too hot in Which? tests, exceeding the upper tog level by 26%, which could cause a baby to overheat. And the instructions provided with it were inadequate.
Pre-washed cotton baby sleeping bag, sold by San Daohui , £7 – bought through Wish
The neck opening is much too wide at 45.6cm, which means a baby could slip inside the bag and suffocate.
The instructions were missing at least five important warnings for parents. Which? also found loose hanging threads and a label that is too long, both of which could endanger a baby.
Baby sleeping bags that failed to meet the current safety standard
Aldi Cloud Baby Sleep Bag 2.5 Tog, £10
The zip was far too easy to open and close on this baby sleeping bag for it to meet the requirements of the safety standard. This could mean that a baby could cut or scratch themselves on the teeth of the zip if it opened without a parent realising.
The loose hanging label is also too long.
Snooze bag 2.5 Tog, sold by Babycurls, £18 – bought through eBay
As with the Aldi baby sleeping bag, the free hanging label was marginally too long to pass testing.
The instructions for this baby sleeping bag were lacking critical information about ensuring the neck and arms fastenings are secure. They also failed to warn against not using if your baby can climb out of the cot, or in combination with a duvet or blanket.
Lictin Baby Sleeping Bag, sold by Lictin £18 – bought through Amazon Marketplace
Amazon likes this bag enough to award it an Amazon’s Choice badge, but Which? Found the instructions fail to mention at least five required safety warnings.
Which? also found a problem with the loop label, which was on the side of the bag and a baby could get their finger twisted inside it. To meet the requirements of the standard, loop labels like this need to be in the upper inside back part of the sleeping bag.
Silvercloud Counting Sheep Sleeping Bag, sold by East Coast Nursery, £13 – bought through Amazon Marketplace
This is another Amazon’s Choice sleeping bag. It failed Which? tests because the label is marginally too long.
The Original Grobag 1.0 Tog, £36
The Original Grobag passed all but one of Which?’s safety tests and checks, but the loose label was marginally longer than is permitted by the standard. It aced all of the other safety tests.
Recommended baby sleeping bags
Asda George Pale Blue Dinosaur Print 2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag, £12
This great value baby sleeping bag from Asda proved to be a safe option in Which? lab tests. The neck opening is the correct width, the zips are strong and it passed every other safety test.
And unlike many of the products we bought from online marketplaces, the instructions included all of the safety warnings needed for a product like this.
John Lewis & Partners Savanna Zebra Stripe Sleep Bag 1 Tog, £26
Which? found no safety concerns with this John Lewis & Partners one tog bag for 6-18 month old babies.
The tog rating is accurate, there were no entrapment or strangulation hazards and the instructions came complete with all of the vital safety information.
Mamas & Papas Welcome To The World Dreampod 0-6 months 1 Tog, £29
This Mamas & Papas Dreampod baby sleeping bag passed all of Which? safety tests. Everything from the strength of the fasteners to the accuracy of the tog rating and the completeness of the warnings given in the instructions was excellent.
Right of reply
Which? offered each of the online marketplaces the opportunity to comment on its findings on the dangerous baby sleeping bags being sold through their sites.
AliExpress said “We consider the safety of all products on our marketplace, especially children’s products, to be of paramount importance. After we were made aware of these unsafe items, we took prompt action and removed them. We have policies in place to help identify listings which may infringe our policies and when informed of non-compliant listings, we take swift action.’
Amazon said that safety is important, it uses proactive measures to stop suspicious or non-compliant products being listed and it monitors products and stores for safety concerns. It will also remove products from stores and reach out to sellers, manufacturers, government agencies and others for additional information. Customers with concerns about products are encouraged to contact customer services so that Amazon can investigate.
An eBay spokesperson said: ‘We work closely with regulators, authorities and consumer organisations including Trading Standards and the OPSS, and go beyond the legal requirements for product safety. The three listings tested and flagged to us have been removed and action has been taken against the sellers. We have also requested that the sellers issue a recall notice.’
Which? offered Etsy the opportunity to comment on the findings but at the time of writing, it hadn’t responded to the offer.
Wish told us that it will be alerting the merchants in question who sell the baby sleeping bags featured in this article.
Responses from manufacturers and retailers
JoJo Maman Bébé said that the bag tested was manufactured under the previous standard BS 8510;2009 and should fully comply to this standard and be labelled as such. The failures are all new recommendations from the revised standard. The bag was purchased at a time when our stock was transitioning from one standard to another, which took slightly longer than anticipated.
Aldi said “This product has been extensively tested, complies with the relevant safety standards and is entirely safe to use. We’ve sold thousands of them and haven’t had any complaints related to the points raised by Which?.”
Babycurls said that the sleeping bag tested by Which? was independently tested in 2017 to the earlier BS 8510:2009 and it passed the tests. The sample tested by Which? was manufactured in early 2018 and before the new testing standard was introduced. They went on to say; “Going forward our bags will conform to BS EN 16781:2018, the label will be shortened and packaging will include the required instructions.”
Mayborn Group, makers of the Original Grobag told Which?: “Following an investigation the label has been found to exceed the requirement of the standard by 3mm. The label in question is positioned inside the product, in a location that’s inaccessible to a child and it’s too wide and short to pose a problem. We are confident that there is no safety risk.”
None of the other sellers featured had responded at the time of writing.