Fisher-Price‘s ‘Rock ‘n Play’ sleepers have been reportedly linked to the deaths of 100 infants, including 30 of whom died after it was first recalled over three years ago.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price both said they initiated another recall of the sleeper, with upwards of five million being sold before first being pulled off of the shelves in April 2019, according to the New York Post.
Infant Deaths Believed To Be Caused By Sleeper’s 30-Degree Incline, Agency Urges Parents To Stop Using Them Immediately
Roughly 70 infants have died in the sleeper since the first recall, with the cause of death believed to be attributed to asphyxiation caused by 30-degree incline of the product.
“Infant fatalities have occurred in the Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances,” according to CPSC.
CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement: “we are issuing this announcement because, despite their removal from the marketplace and a prohibition on their sale, babies continue to die in these products.”
He went on to urge “all parents” to stop using “these products immediately.”
“I urge all parents, grandparents, and caregivers to follow the guidance of this announcement and stop using these products immediately.”
Two Class Action Lawsuits Filed Since Recall In 2019, With Rival Product Similarly Recalled For 15 Infant Deaths
The government similarly mandated a recall of Kids2 Rocking Sleepers, which itself has been blamed for 15 infant deaths, the outlet reports.
Two class action lawsuits were filed against Fisher-Price, and Mattel, the parent company, since the first recall in 2019.
One suit was filed by a Delaware couple – Samantha Drover-Mundy and Zachary Mundy – who lost their 12-week-old daughter after she died in her rocking sleeper.
The distraught parents claimed the child died just minutes after she was placed in a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.
Meanwhile, a separate lawsuit filed by Long Island native Cassandra Mulvey, who alleges in her lawsuit that “the Rock ‘n Play’s defective design also causes injuries…which require costly medical treatment and can cause life-long damage, including permanent deformities and developmental delays.”
Mulvey added in her court filing that Mattel’s marketing of the product was “dangerously false and misleading, as the product is not safe for all-night or prolonged sleep for infants.”
The Rock ‘n Play “significantly increased the risk that an infant’s head would slip into a dangerous position, tilt to constrict the windpipe and/or cause the infant’s face to become pressed against the padded fabric in the sleeper and block airflow, thereby increasing the risk of death by asphyxiation,” the court filing went on to say.
Fisher-Price Accused Of Failing To Act, Even After It Learned Of Infant Deaths Over A Decade Ago
Fisher-Price have since been accused of failing to act on the defective product, even after it was warned about the infant deaths over a decade ago, according to the Post.
Back in September 2011, the 15-week-old son of Sara Thompson of Pennsylvania, died in her Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. Thompson wrote a letter to the CPSC in December 2012, informing them of her son’s death.
The agency eventually passed on the warning to Fisher-Price’s risk-management team, per Consumer Reports, who in turn categorized the incident as an “injury flag,” internal company files read.
And in February 2013, an Atlanta-based pediatrician, Dr. Roy Benaroch, warned the toymaker that its product was unsafe for infants.
Sure enough, in August 2018, Erika Richter, of Oregon, lost her two-week-old daughter after she was placed in a Rock ‘n Play sleeper.
Pediatricians Say 30-Degree Incline Angle Is Dangerous For Infants, Who Cannot Move To A Safer Position
According to pediatricians, the sleeper’s 30-degree angle poses a threat for babies, which can obstruct their airways by their relatively heavier heads falling forward into a chin-to-chest posture.
And since they cannot lift their own heads, babies are unable to move to a safer position, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports.
Fisher-Price and Mattel did not immediately return the outlet’s request for comment.