Following parent concerns and a number of deaths associated with inclined infant sleepers, Mattel is recalling the Rock ‘n Play sleeper. Over 30 deaths have been linked to the Fisher-Price model.
Earlier this year, complaints and lawsuits were lodged against Mattel (Fisher-Price’s parent company) with doctors, parents, and other group stating the company did not to enough to mitigate the risks of the product. It is said to interfere with the infant’s ability to breathe.
After receiving a number of complaints, the Consumer Product Safety Commission urged parents to discontinue using the sleeper. In response, Fisher-Price at first issued a warning, but recently recalled 4.7 million Rock ‘n Plays worldwide.
Mattel will be working with the USCPSC as well as consumer protection agencies around the world to pull the product from shelves. Other countries where the Rock ‘n Play is sold include Canada and Australia.
So, what’s the problem with the device? The sleeper is designed to keep babies at an incline and there is an automatic feature, which can contribute to the baby rolling. When Fisher-Price first issued their warning, they stated problems were caused by how parents are using the device:
“The reported deaths show that some consumers are still using the product when infants are capable of rolling and without using the three-point harness restraint.”
The company also advised parents to stop using the Rock ‘n Play when babies are old enough to roll over on their own. Infant deaths have been due to asphyxiation. Experts warn that babies who sleep in an upright position also run the risk of SIDS or strangulation.
Pediatricians warn that babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface without any stuffed animals or other objects in the bedding area. While parents appreciate the sleepers and say that it helps soothe babies to sleep and can reduce gas and influx in babies, there have been hundreds of complaints about the dangers of these devices since the mid-2000s.
At this time, the USCPSC is advising parents to immediately stop using the Rock ‘n Play and either discard it or return it to Fisher-Price. The company will either issue a refund or voucher, but you must contact their customer service line at 866.812.6518.
According to the New York Times, one family has filed a lawsuit for the death of their 12-week-old daughter, asserting that Fisher-Price, Mattel, and Amazon promoted the Rock ‘n Play through online reviewers and sales even though they knew it was dangerous.
Additionally, the article states that an investigation into the company’s lobbying practices contributed to the recall:
“The family also accuses Fisher-Price of lobbying government officials to skirt regulations that could have blocked it from being sold, an issue explored by Consumer Reports in a recent investigation that helped prompt the Rock ’n Play recall.”
As a result, other infant recliners/sleepers made by other manufacturers will also be examined. If you own one, you may want to stay abreast of the latest safety-related announcements.
Do you own one of these infant sleepers? Were you aware that some babies have died from this product? What has your experience been with infant sleepers?