Fisher-Price is warning parents to use more caution with its Rock ’n Play Sleeper, a mechanized cradle for infants.
The device has been linked to the deaths of 10 babies since 2015. Now the company is working with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to advise parents about safe operation of the product and offer basic guidance for babies’ sleep safety.
Since most infants start rolling over around three months, the warning advises consumers to stop using the product by three months “or as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.”
The government safety commission said in the statement it is aware of 10 deaths since 2015 “after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side, while unrestrained. All 10 infants were 3 months or older.”
The warning applies to all models of the Rock ’n Play.
Fisher-Price and the federal government tweeted the warning.
Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) & Fisher-Price issued an alert warning parents and caregivers to discontinue use of the Rock 'n Play Sleeper when infants begin to roll over. Click here to learn more about a safe sleep environment: https://t.co/wrDeE3Trl7 pic.twitter.com/qXvEbf6ZgQ
— Fisher-Price® (@FisherPrice) April 5, 2019
Safety Alert: If your child is 3 months or older, or if your child can roll, stop using your Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play. 10 deaths since 2015 occurred when infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side, while unrestrained. Learn more: https://t.co/Df5j3wzNkn pic.twitter.com/x0SeOJWfMc
— US Consumer Product Safety Commission (@USCPSC) April 5, 2019
Fisher-Price’s parent company Mattel was careful to acknowledge how heartbreaking it is to lose a child.
It wrote in a statement in its newsroom:
A child fatality is an unimaginable tragedy.
Fisher-Price has a long, proud tradition of prioritizing safety as the cornerstone of our mission. Generations of parents have trusted us for almost 90 years to provide safe products for their children. We are there with you from the moment you bring your child home and take our responsibility for product safety very seriously.
Today, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price have jointly issued an alert warning parents and caregivers to discontinue use of the Rock ’n Play Sleeper when infants begin to roll over. To ensure a safe sleep environment for infants, we remind parents and caregivers to follow all safety warnings included with the product: always use the provided restraints, always place infants on their backs to sleep, and make sure that no pillows, blankets or extra padding are placed in the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper 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).
Fisher-Price and every one of our employees take the responsibility of being part of your family seriously, and we are committed to earning that trust every day.
None of the statements mentioned a product recall.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statement focused on educating users about proper sleep safety for infants as much as it warned about the product itself.
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. 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.
CPSC and Fisher-Price remind consumers to create a safe sleep environment for infants, whether using a crib, bassinet, play yard, or inclined Sleeper: Never add blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or other items to the environment and always place infants to sleep on their backs.
On Twitter, some were ready to absolve Fisher-Price, asserting that user error led to the deaths.
Loved this thing! People will always find something to blame other than their laziness.
— Carin Johnson (@CarinMJohnson) April 6, 2019
Ugh as much as it’s sad it makes me mad! Use it properly and the company should not be blamed. Monitor your children and there will be no issues it’s not the product it’s how one uses it.
— Ayden Lincoln (@AydenLincoln) April 6, 2019
We love the Rock n Play! It was an amazing product for our little guy. Please know you have helped many parents.
— Erin Jeanneret (@ErinJeanneret) April 8, 2019
Others say the product should be recalled:
10 children have died!
— Leora (@laneylark1) April 6, 2019
I bought this for my grandson, now age 5 weeks. It was expensive for a grandma on Social Security. And it is only good for three months? I need my money back.
— Karen Fountain (@KarenFountain) April 7, 2019
The rock n play is not a safe sleep surface, no matter the age. The AAP recommends against it. It also goes against AAP recommendations of firm, flat surface and no soft bedding.
— Jessica Freestate (@JFreestate) April 5, 2019
Fisher-Price responded to some irate customers, asking them to follow up privately.
I bought this when the warning was simply to keep the restraining harness buckled. I bought two Jan 8 2019 for my twins over 2 months old. Less than three months later I'm being told not to use it, because my twins could have been killed? What do I do now? I would like a refund.
— Stephanie (@Perfect1O) April 6, 2019
Hi Stephanie – Please DM us with your telephone number. We would like to arrange for one of our team members to call you today.
— Fisher-Price® (@FisherPrice) April 6, 2019
The product is still being investigated, according to the CSPC.
The latest death was reported last month, said Patty Davis, a spokeswoman with CPSC. It’s unclear when the other deaths took place.
The CPSC is recommending the public to stop using the Sleeper if their children are 3 months old or “as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.”
Davis said the commission is currently investigating the product.
“If it turns out that it needs to be recalled, we will move forward with that,” Davis told CNN.
The report has resurfaced claims about other Fisher-Price products for safety concerns, and it has international implications for the brand.
“This is the second Fisher-Price product to raise concerns this year. In February, 44,000 Power Wheels Barbie Dream Campers were recalled due to a defect that could allow the cars to keep moving after the pedal is released,” Amanda Hoover points out on NJ.com.
The news was covered extensively in Australia over the weekend, where the product is one of the the country’s most popular baby Sleepers, according toDaily Mail Australia.
“A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths in Australia associated with the product, but it was being investigated ‘as a matter of priority,’” Carrie Fellner writes for the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The ACCC urges parents with this product to keep it out of reach of children,” the spokesperson tells her. “We are always concerned by reports such as those we are seeing from the U.S.”
What do you think of Fisher-Price’s response, PR Daily readers?