After a new report linked the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper to 32 infant deaths in the past decade, public health and consumer advocates want to know why it’s still on the market.
The investigation, published by Consumer Reports on April 8 and updated on April 9, is based on previously undisclosed data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), lawsuits filed against Fisher-Price, and opinions from medical experts and government officials.
On April 5, Fisher-Price and the CPSC issued a joint safety warning about the product, informing consumers of the potential danger posed to infants — but stopped short of a recall.
The warning cites only 10 infant deaths that have occurred since 2015 and not the full 32 cited by Consumer Reports, the earliest of which was in 2011, two years after the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was put on the market.
“Because deaths continue to occur, CPSC is recommending consumers stop use of the product by three months of age, or as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities,” the warning states. “CPSC has previously warned consumers to use restraints in infant-inclined sleep products.”
“Fisher-Price warns consumers to stop using the product when infants can roll over, but 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,” said the safety warning.
The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is a sleeping device designed to put infants to sleep on an incline — an aspect of the product that’s considered dangerous by public health experts.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using both incline sleeping devices or those that require restraining a baby.
The AAP formally issued their own statement on April 9 urging a recall of the product, saying that the warning doesn’t go far enough. They recommend that parents stop using the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper immediately.
“This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” said Dr. Kyle Yasuda, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it’s being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case,” he said. “There is convincing evidence that the Rock ‘n Play inclined sleeper puts infants’ lives at risk, and CPSC must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies.”
According to Consumer Reports, infant deaths have been reported below the three-month threshold proposed by CPSC and Fisher-Price.
Their investigation points out a “long list of deaths” including a 2-month-old girl in 2011 and, most recently, a 1-month-old girl and a 9-day-old boy in the spring of 2018.
In a statement sent to Healthline, Fisher-Price said the following: “The safety of children is our highest priority. The loss of a child is tragic and heartbreaking.”
“For almost 90 years, generations of parents have trusted Fisher-Price to provide high-quality and safe products for their children, and we work hard to earn that trust every day. We stand by the safety of the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. The product meets all applicable safety standards, including those of the international standards organization, known as ASTM International, and is certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).”
Healthline’s requests for additional comment from Fisher-Price in regard to the AAP’s demand for a recall of the product were not met. The company hasn’t responded publicly to the AAP statement.
Other experts contacted by Healthline agreed with the AAP’s assessment of the product and demand for recall.
“The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is dangerous and deadly and presents a clear threat to the safety of infants and young babies,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, NYC.
According to the AAP, incline sleeping devices and those that use restraints put infants’ lives at risk because of the potential for death from asphyxiation. If an infant rolls over or moves into a position in which it can’t breathe, death can occur, a phenomenon known as positional asphyxia.
“The bottom line is that for prolonged or nighttime sleep, all babies should be put on their backs and not on an inclined position. They should be unrestrained on a flat and firm surface. This may include a mattress with a fitted sheet in a crib or bassinet,” said Glatter.
The AAP also provides additional safety guidelines for sleeping infants including keeping sleeping areas clutter-free and clear of pillows, using a firm and flat mattress, and giving infants their own sleeping space away from other people.
An investigation from Consumer Reports linked the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper to 32 infant deaths since 2011.
The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to stop using the product immediately.
Fisher-Price and the CPSC have issued a joint safety warning about the product, informing consumers of the potential danger posed to infants, but stopped short of a recall. The CPSC recommends consumers stop use of the product by three months of age, or when an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.
In a separate statement, Fisher-Price said it stands by the safety of the product.
Fisher-Price has been responding to questions and concerns via Twitter.