The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price issued a safety recall for all of the company’s Rock ‘n Play sleepers after they have been linked to 30 infant deaths over the last 10 years. According to a CNN news report, the recall will affect about 4.7 million sleepers. CPSC’s acting chairwoman Ann Marie Buerkle is urging parents and caregivers to stop using these products right away and to contact Fisher-Price for a refund or a voucher.
This decision comes a week after CPSC and Fisher-Price issued an alert about the product, but stopped short of a recall. The American Academy of Pediatrics and families that have lost children urged the company to issue a full-blown recall. Last week, the CPSC had only cited reports of 10 infant fatalities linked to the sleepers. But Consumer Reports published an analysis linking the sleepers to 32 infant deaths between 2011 and 2018.
Dangerous and Defective Products
CNN talked to Keenan and Evan Overton, whose 5-month-old son, Ezra, was napping in the sleeper while his father was asleep on the couch next to him. When Keenan Overton looked up, he found his baby in a standing position but face down in the chair. His face was on the back of the seat. When the dad picked up his baby, his face was blue and lifeless. His nose had been squished against the back of the seat and he had suffocated to death.
Consumer Reports’ investigation also cites that death of 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. The report was published April 8 by Consumer Reports based on previously undisclosed data from the CPSC, lawsuits filed against Fisher-Price and opinions from medical experts and government officials.
The Rock’ n Play sleeper is designed to put infants to sleep on an incline, an aspect of the product that is considered dangerous by public health experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against using both incline sleepers and those that require restraining a baby. The AAP has also issued a formal statement earlier this week urging Fisher-Price to recall these defective products saying that their warning doesn’t go far enough. The AAP has called these products “deadly.”
Holding Manufacturers Accountable
It took a lot of pressure from safety advocates and grieving families for CPSC and Fisher-Price to react in this case. All consumers should be grateful to these brave families for speaking up despite their grief and rendering a significant service. We are pleased that their voices have been heard. Product manufacturers have a duty to make products that are safe for consumers and to recall unsafe products. Anyone who has been harmed by these or other defective products would be well advised to contact an experienced product defect attorney to obtain more information about pursuing their legal rights.