Update: Just prior to this article’s posting, it appears baby products manufacturer Kids2 (a Fisher-Price competitor) took down any product pages for its own inclined sleepers, which came under fire by Consumer Reports for the same safety issues that sparked the Rock ‘n Play recall. A recall of Kids2 sleepers may be imminent.
If you own a Rock ‘n Play sleeper, stop using it immediately.
Fisher-Price has voluntarily recalled 4.7 million units of the popular infant sleeper amid growing pressure from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the public. This came after a Consumer Reports (CR) investigation, published on April 8, found that the Rock ‘n Play sleeper was tied to the deaths of 32 babies between 2011 and 2018.
During its investigation, Consumer Reports reached out to Fisher-Price for comment, causing the company to issue a safety warning about their product. But that wasn’t enough. For years, Fisher-Price had known their products were unsafe — they’d been the defendants of at least one lawsuit from a grief-stricken family. But furthermore, medical experts have long maintained that inclined sleepers should not be used, as they put babies’ lives at risk. Instead, infants “should be placed flat on their back alone and free of soft bedding [or toys; bumpers] — and not at an incline — to minimize the risk of accidental suffocation.” And yet despite this, Fisher-Price continued to manufacture and sell inclined sleepers to parents who trusted they were safe.
Fisher-Price is not alone, says Consumer Reports.
The investigation by the nonprofit organization — which publishes in-depth, unbiased product reviews — is ongoing. Last Thursday, the day before Fisher-Price announced its recall conjunction the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Consumer Reports published additional findings regarding four other deaths. Each was linked to one of two sleepers manufactured by Kids2, the parent company of Baby Einstein.
“The sleepers — the Ingenuity Moonlight Rocking Sleeper and the Bright Starts Playtime to Bedtime Sleeper — are made by the children’s product company Kids II,” reads the report. “A spokesperson for Kids II confirmed to CR that the company is aware of four deaths associated with those products.”
Kids2 discontinued Bright Starts in 2016, but you can still find the Moonlight Rocking Sleeper online and on store shelves across the country. “Designed with the parent in mind,” reads the the product description, but parents who use inclined sleepers as a part of their sleep strategy are speaking out: they never would have bought them had they known the risks. Many parents had no idea.
That’s part of what makes this situation so infuriating for parents and safety experts alike. Parents might not have known, but both Fisher-Price and the CPSC did. But instead of taking action, and preventing the deaths of 36 infants and counting, the government-backed watchdog group declined to do so because they “could not determine if the deaths resulted from a defect.”
Perhaps there wasn’t a defect, but the design itself goes against the advice of pediatricians and sleep experts. Inclined sleepers put babies at risk of positional asphyxia. If the child’s heads tilt forward or to the side while he or she sleeps, it can potentially close off the child’s airways. In essence, the position created by Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play was known to interfere with an infant’s breathing.
Pediatricians, alongside the parents who’ve lost their children, have long been shouting the dangers of these products. The recall in the wake of Consumer Reports article is a huge first step, even as it highlights major issues with the regulatory agencies that have allowed these products to exist in the market.
Marta Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports, said, “The Fisher-Price recall of the Rock n’ Play is long overdue. Fisher-Price and the CPSC knew about deaths linked to this product for years and could have taken steps to avoid this unnecessary tragedy. It took dogged investigation and the voices of doctors, victims’ families, and advocates across the country to make this recall a reality. Congress needs to take a hard look at the CPSC and make sure it is a watchdog that consumers can rely on.”
It’s tough as a parent. All we want is to do right by our kids; to help them sleep. For many, inclined sleepers seemed like a life-saver. But for 36 families and counting, it’s been anything but.
If you use one of the 4.7 million recalled Rock ‘n Play sleepers, stop using it immediately and contact Fisher-Price for a refund. Do not donate the product. Do not give it to someone else. This product is dangerous, and should be destroyed.
Further information about the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper may be found online at www.service.mattel.com. Click on “Recalls & Safety Alerts.” Parents and caregivers may also call the company toll-free at 866-812-6518 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
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Check Out These References for Further Reading:
“Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Should Be Recalled, Consumer Reports Says.” Consumer Reports. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“What Parents Need to Know About the Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play and Safe Sleep.” Consumer Reports. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“Four More Deaths Linked to Infant Sleepers Like the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.” Consumer Reports. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“Fisher-Price Recalls Rock ’n Play Sleeper Linked to Infant Deaths.” The New York Times. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“Fisher-Price recalls Rock ‘n Play amid pressure from AAP.” American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“Fisher-Price Recalls Rock ‘n Play Sleepers Due to Reports of Deaths.” Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“CPSC and Fisher-Price Warn Consumers About Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Due to Reports of Death When Infants Roll Over in the Product.” Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“Fisher-Price recalls Rock ‘n Play sleepers after more than 30 babies died.” NBC News. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
“After reports of infant deaths, nearly 5 million Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleepers are recalled.” The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 April 2019.