Fisher-Price Recalls Incline Sleepers Days Before Reports Show the Company Ignored Safety Warnings
Fisher-Price recalls incline baby sleepers days before reports accuse the children product giant of ignoring repeated safety warnings even after infants started dying.
During the decade that the once popular Rock ‘n Play was on the market, more than 50 infants died in connection to the sleeper before all models were recalled in April 2019, according to a new congressional report. A 20-month investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform alleges that the corporation did not adequately vet the product for safety before selling roughly 4.7 million to unsuspecting consumers.
The Rock ‘n Play hit stores in 2009, marketed as an innovative, safe overnight sleeper offering a solution for getting infants to fall asleep without being held. The product was designed for infants to lie on their backs at a thirty-degree angle with their feet at a downward position. At the time, it was the only infant-inclined sleeper on the market - making it an instant success.
The sleeper brought in millions of dollars in sales each year, totaling $200 million before the product was discontinued, the report found. All the while, Fisher-Price knew the grave danger of their widely popular product. Documents obtained by the Committee confirmed that the corporation had become aware of the serious dangers associated with the Rock ‘n Play before its launch. House investigators also found that the New-York company apparently consulted only one doctor before bringing the sleeper to the market. Which the report uncovered that the physician was not a pediatrician and was later accused of practicing medicine without a license.
Once the Rock ‘n Play hit shelves, Fisher-Price continued to disregard alarms raised by regulators, pediatricians, and consumers. It was only a matter of time until the product received a consumer complaint that a child had stopped breathing while in the sleeper. The report described that the child had regained breathe after being picked up. In response, the company issued a refund and discounted any further review.
It was all but two months later in December 2012 when Fisher-Price received another report that an infant had died in their sleeper, according to the committee’s research. It was not until seven years later and an alarming death toll of over 50 babies until Fisher-Price issued a recall of their must-have product.
The reclining position of the Rock ‘n Play put babies at an increased risk of suffocation because the design allowed an infant’s head to fall forward on their chests restricting airflow. Furthermore, inclined sleepers makes it easier for babies to turn on to their sides and stomachs preventing them from rolling back over. Without sufficient head control or neck strength, an infant is not able to lift their head up to breathe causing asphyxia or suffocation.
On June 4, 2021, just days before the congressional report was released to the public, Fisher-Price and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS), voluntarily recalled both the 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother and 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider. Echoing the same safety concerns as their Rock ‘n Play, the soother was recalled after four infant deaths were linked to the product. While the 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider has no known fatalities it was recalled due to its association with their other products’ hazards.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend inclined sleep products or any other products for sleep that require restraining an infant. “Inclined infant sleepers are dangerous and have no place in a safe sleep environment,” said the association in a statement. CPSC emphasizes that the best place for babies to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard. Caregivers should never add pillows, blankets or other accessories to their sleeping environment and should always be placed to sleep on their backs.
With more than two decades working with families of victims of defective products, we know what it takes to go up against major corporations who put profits before people. Our experienced, product liability attorneys at Meyers & Flowers are currently investigating potential lawsuits against Fisher-Price and other manufacturers of incline sleepers to ensure no other families have to endure another tragedy. Contact our team today at (630) 232-6333, [email protected] or request a free case evaluation.