JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Almost four years after a Consumer Reports investigation prompted the recall of millions of popular infant-inclined sleep products — including the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play — more child deaths are being linked to these products. How is this possible?
Consumer Reports and other product safety experts said companies aren’t doing enough to warn parents of the dangers.
The major recall was announced in the Spring of 2019 when Fisher-Price and Kids2 infant-inclined sleepers were pulled from production after a Consumer Reports investigation revealed at least 36 deaths linked to the products. Since then, the number of deaths has tripled.
Now, new information just released is a stark reminder that these dangerous sleep products are still in use.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says at least eight additional babies have reportedly died in Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and four have died in the Kids2 rocking sleepers since the recall, bringing the total number of deaths for both sleepers to more than 100.
“These sleepers position infants on an inclined sleeping surface, and that increases the risk of suffocation if it makes their heads drop forward onto their chests while they’re sleeping,” Lauren Kirchner, a Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter, said.
Sadly, the news that additional infants have died means that even while the inclined sleepers cannot legally be sold, they are still being used in people’s homes.
“When a product gets recalled, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to both get it out of the stores and to alert people who already own it to stop using it immediately,” Kirchner said. “And safety experts say that they just haven’t seen Fisher-Price or Kids2 do enough in that area.”
According to Mattel, Fisher-Price’s parent company, as of last March, only 9.5 percent of the Rock ‘n Play sleepers had been accounted for since the recall. In other words, more than 4 million recalled sleepers are potentially still in use.
Mattel said Fisher-Price “has worked diligently to remove all recalled product from the market” since the recall of the Rock ‘n Play in 2019. Kids2 did not respond to a request for comment from Consumer Reports.
On June 23, 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Infant Sleep Product Rule went into effect, making it unlawful to sell non-compliant infant sleep products manufactured on or after that date. This landmark rule removes products hazardous to infants from the marketplace and applies to infant sleep products marketed or intended to provide sleeping accommodations for an infant up to 5 months of age.
The ISP Rule applies, in particular, to:
- 1) inclined infant sleep products with a sleep surface angle greater than 10 degrees
- 2) non-inclined infant sleep products, such as baby boxes, in-bed sleepers, baby nests and pods, compact/travel bassinets, and infant tents.
- These “flat products,” are also subject to the Safety Standard for Bassinets and Cradles, which requires that these products have a stand, meet stability requirements, and have a side height of at least 7.5 inches.
CPSC further reminds manufacturers and retailers that the Safe Sleep for Babies Act went into effect on November 12, 2021. This law bans both padded crib bumpers and inclined infant sleep products and applies to all products in the marketplace, not just those that are manufactured after the effective date of the new rule.
To keep your baby safe, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be put to bed only in products that meet federal safety requirements for infant sleep, such as a bassinet, crib, or play yard.
If you’re having a hard time getting your infant to sleep, ask your pediatrician for tips, rather than using an unsafe positioning product.