Fisher-Price sleeps are the subject of a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warning after at least 13 deaths in the company’s infant rockers
This warning directed to parents and caregivers clearly states that an infant should not be left unsupervised, unrestrained, or sleeping in any incline infant product. This is pretty much an impossible task for a parent which makes you wonder why the CPSC allows the product to remain on the market.
Fisher-Price and Infant Suffocation
Fisher Price’s products have been a significant cause of infant suffocation in the last two decades, including products such as rockers, gliders, soothers, and swings.
2019 Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Recall
On April 12, 2019, a recall was announced for Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play sleepers, a product that caused over 32 infant fatalities. Over 4.7 million of these sleepers were recalled.
Days after this recall was announced, CPSC sent out a warning that babies should not be put in a sleeper once they start showing signs of being able to roll over. This warning also stated that infants should stop the use of sleepers completely once they reach three months old.
Shortly after the initial warning was issued by CPSC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement that the Rock ‘n Play needed to be immediately recalled for the safety of infants. AAP argued that when parents purchase a product at a store for their child, they are expecting it to be safe. How can anyone argue that leaving the product is not putting n stores to be purchased, Fisher-Price is potentially putting thousands of infants’ lives at risk.
The Rock ‘n Play did include restraints, but when not fastened properly, an infant is at risk of suffocation if it rolls over. CPSC also warned parents on November 7, 2019, that they should not leave infants asleep in rockers, pillows, or any other product that holds an infant at an incline where their head is higher than their feet.
Evidence Growing Risk of Sleepers
Erin Mannen, PhD, a mechanical engineer at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, designed a study for this commission to evaluate how babies use their muscles when laying on an incline. For this study, she used 10 infants between the ages of 2 and 6 months. The babies were placed in 7 different products, each placed in everyone for no longer than 60 seconds at a time for safety purposes.
The results of this study showed evidence that it is easier for babies to roll over when they are laying on an incline. When laying on an incline, it activates a baby’s stomach muscles which makes it easier for them to move their head. Once a baby is flipped, it is hard for them to return back to its original position on its back. While stuck on their stomach and lying on their face, they inhale the carbon dioxide that they are releasing from their body when exhaling, which can result in suffocation.
Safe Sleep Babies Act of 2021
Congress is acting on the concern over infant deaths.
“No inclined product, made by Fisher-Price or any other company, is safe for infant sleep. Only a firm, flat surface is safe.” CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in a statement.
On May 16, Congress passed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act. This act put forth that it is unlawful to manufacture, distribute, or sell any sleepers with an incline of more than 10 degrees.
Although Fisher-Price’s sleepers and rockers were popular alternatives to high-end bassinets, the safety of infants is significantly more important. Parents should do a decent amount of research before purchasing any sleepers, rockers, soothers, etc.
Reporting a Baby Rocker Incident
If you need to report an incident involving baby rockers, please do so at www.saferproducts.gov. Consumers can reach Fisher-Price at 800-432-5437 to report related incidents regarding their products and view safety videos at the company’s Safe Start webpage.