sleep safety

After 13 Infants Deaths Tied To Rockers, CPSC And Fisher-Price Issue Warning

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that no baby should sleep or be left unattended on inclined products.

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Five rockers and gliders by Fisher-Price which have been recalled over the years  Fisher-Price / CPS...
Fisher-Price / CPSC

On June 14, Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a safety warning in regard to two infant products: the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers. The warning was issued after the use of the products was linked by the CPSC to at least 13 reported infant deaths that occurred between 2009 and 2021.

The safety warning urges parents to not use the Rockers for infant sleep, to not leave their kids alone when in the Rockers, and to not add extra material to the Rockers.

"Just three years ago, this agency oversaw the recall of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play after a staggering number of infant deaths. Tragically, we now grieve 13 more infant deaths in Fisher-Price Rockers," CPSC commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. wrote in a statement about the warning.

“No inclined product, made by Fisher-Price or any other company, is safe for infant sleep. Only a firm, flat surface is safe,” Trumka said, per the Washington Post.

In addition to 2019’s massive recall of the Rock 'n Play that Trumka referred to, in 2021 Fisher-Price and the CPSC issued another recall for two of the company’s products — the 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother and the 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider — after four babies between the ages of 11 weeks and 4 months died between April 2019 and February 2020 while using the Glide Soother.

The warning for the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers is notably not a recall, but a safety notice to remind parents not to allow infants to sleep in the product.

“Consumers are reminded not to use Rockers for infant sleep, that infants should never be unsupervised or unrestrained in Rockers, and that bedding material should not be added to the product,” Fisher-Price said in the safety notice. "We remain committed to educating parents and caregivers on the safe use of all of our products, including the importance of following all warnings and instructions to ensure the health and safety of babies and children.” They also urged consumers to call the company at 800-432-5437 if they had concerns and to visit their Safe Start webpage for safety videos.

The CPSC states that no baby should be left unattended or allowed to sleep on inclined products. The dangers of these gliders or rockers aren’t limited to specific brands, but many inclined products. The CPSC also noted that the Kids II Bright Starts Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Stars and Smiles Infant to Toddler Rocker were also recently linked to the death of an infant.

Kids II said that consumers should call 800-230-8190 or visit its website to report incidents or ask questions.

The CPSC has asked Congress to end a gag rule that holds the agency back from alerting parents.

CPSC commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. noted in a statement on the CPSC website that the agency discovered the latest deaths linked to the rockers months ago, but that they were unable to do or say anything. The agency has to abide by a “gag rule” that prohibits the CPSC from communicating negative information about a company or product until the company is able to respond to the claims. That means that products can remain on the market for some time after the CPSC identifies a problem.

“We fought an uphill battle to release this information to warn parents and caregivers," Trumka Jr. said in the same statement. "When CPSC needs to warn the public about a pattern of death and injury tied to a product, it should be able to quickly issue that warning to prevent further loss of life."

"Congress must immediately repeal the Gag Rule," Trumka added. "If CPSC cannot issue timely warnings, dangers will remain hidden in people's homes."

A new, CPSC-led federal safety rule for infant sleep products will be the standard soon.

Last year the CPSC issued a groundbreaking new safety rule on infant sleep products. The new rule will require sleep products to have a sleep surface angle of 10 degrees or less and will require all sleep products on the market to conform to the “existing bassinet, crib, or play yard standard.”

After June 23, 2022, any product “intended or marketed for infant sleep” will need to meet a federal safety standard. "The CPSC will aggressively enforce the rule in order to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children,” said Alexander Hoehn-Saric, Chair of the CPSC.

Always remember the A-B-C’s of infant sleep.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, safe sleep guidelines are vital for parents to follow when their babies are very young.

The guidelines, also called the ABCs of infant sleep, remind parents that babies need to sleep alone, in a crib on a firm mattress, placed on their backs, and without anything extra in the crib with them — including blankets, pillows, or toys.

Just over a month ago, President Joe Biden signed the new “Safe Sleep for Babies Act” into law. The law aims to protect babies from dangerous sleep products on the market that might confuse parents and makes it illegal to sell or manufacture inclined sleepers (and crib bumpers). The bill passed unanimously through the Senate.

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