At least 19 additional deaths have been linked to the Fisher-Price Rock’n Play Sleeper, a new Consumer Reports analysis of lawsuits, government records and interviews with parents has found. The publication says the death toll for all inclined sleepers is now up to at least 92 from 73, which was the total released in October by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the agency tasked with overseeing product safety. Both the CPSC and lawmakers in Congress have proposed a ban on all infant inclined sleepers that position infants at an angle between 10 and 30 degrees.
However, as this debate continues, many inclined sleepers still flood the markets, people’s homes and day care centers, putting young children in peril every day. Consumer Reports’ stellar reporting has prompted the recall of more than 5 million inclined sleepers including brands such as Fisher-Price and Kids II. Parents of children who died in inclined sleepers told Consumer Reports they were simply not aware of the problem and only learned about the dangers of these products after it was too late.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sleep alone, on their backs and unrestrained, on a firm, flat surface that is free of soft bedding and padded bumpers. However, inclined sleepers contradict these guidelines. They are not flat, their sidewalls and head support are made of soft bedding and they have restraint harnesses. Researchers have found that the inclined sleepers make it easier for babies to roll over onto their stomachs or sides with their faces pressed against the sleeper’s soft fabric, which suffocates them.
Because inclined sleepers feature seats as opposed to flat surfaces, they place babies in a flexed hip position. This could cause infants to roll over earlier than they might have been able to manage on a flat surface. This is why, experts say, many parents whose children died in an inclined sleeper after rolling over said their babies had never rolled over previously.
Parents and Caregivers Should Be Alert
Even though many of these products have now been recalled, several inclined products advertised for sleep, including naps such as Baby Delight Nestle Nook Portable Infant Lounger, which Kim Kardashian recently featured on her social media platforms, remain on the market. These products are also sold in secondhand marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Companies such as Chicco and Graco had not yet recalled their inclined sleepers.
As product defect attorneys, we applaud Consumer Reports for taking the lead on this investigation and staying on top of it, not only triggering these recalls but also informing consumers along the way. If your child has sustained injuries as a result of these infant sleepers, please contact an experienced product defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.