The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is back in the news this week.
Originally recalled in 2019, after 32 deaths were linked to the sleeper, an additional 70 deaths have been reported – including at least eight that occurred after the recall – bringing the total to over 100 deaths in the past 13 years.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission repeated its notice to customers to immediately stop using the product, which rocks babies to sleep in a cloth-covered cradle, and to contact Fisher-Price for refunds or vouchers.
According to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for Mattel, the parent company of Fisher-Price, said on Tuesday that the company stopped selling the Rock ’n Play Sleeper when the recall was announced in April 2019. “Since then, the company has worked diligently to remove all recalled product from the market,” the spokeswoman, Catherine Frymark, said. “Today’s reannouncement serves as a critical reminder to both consumers and resellers that they should not use, sell, or donate the recalled Rock ’n Play.”
The commission on Monday also issued a renewed warning about a similar product, the Kids2 Rocking Sleeper because 15 deaths have been linked to the product.
Dr. Lois Lee, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics council on injury, violence and poison prevention, said that it was heartbreaking that more infants had died since the products were initially recalled. She said that the commission must be able to warn the public about dangerous products without industry approval.
“This just underscores how much harder it is to remove millions of dangerous products from homes than it is to never allow them to be sold in the first place,” said Dr. Lee, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “While the C.P.S.C. now has stronger rules for any new infant sleep product and a ban of all inclined sleepers, those protections cannot undo the tragic losses families have experienced from a recalled product.”
The commission said in June that infants should never sleep in inclined products, like rockers, soothers or swings, because of the risk of suffocation. It issued a rule last year requiring infant sleep products to have a surface angle of no more than 10 degrees. The best way for an infant to sleep, the commission said, is on his or her back, on a firm, flat surface, such as one in a crib or an infant bassinet, which, unlike inclined sleepers, have strict safety standards. Infants should sleep with just a fitted sheet and with no pillows or blankets, the commission said.
While the recall was effective at halting sales of the Rock ’n Play, some remain in use.
Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois and the ranking member of a House subcommittee focused on consumer protection, urged consumers to get rid of any recalled products.
“The safety of consumers is one of my top priorities,” she said, “and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the C.P.S.C. has the resources they need to protect consumers and to make sure we get the word out about dangerous products.”