Why the Recalled Rocking Sleepers are Potentially Deadly
April 9, 2019
Why is it still on the market? Consumer Reports asked this very important question when reporting the findings of its investigation of dozens of infant deaths related to Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play sleeper.
On April 5, after Consumer Reports asked for comment about their then-ongoing investigation, the federal government and Fisher-Price issued only a warning about the sleep device, which was both designed and marketed to consumers as a product in which babies could sleep safely on an incline.
Fisher-Price soon relented and recalled 4.7 million of its rocking sleepers. Now, another manufacturer of rocking sleepers, Kids II, is recalling nearly 700,000 rocking sleepers. Five children have died while in the Kids II baby rockers.
AN INITIAL WARNING THAT DIDN’T GO FAR ENOUGH
The joint statement from Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission cautioned that consumers should “stop use of the product by three months of age, or as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.” The statement cited only 10 deaths, saying that all occurred among children older than three months.
The Consumer Reports investigation found a much bigger problem. Researchers found at least 32 deaths associated with the sleeper. Some of the infants were younger than three months. Consumer Reports also says that rollovers aren’t the only danger the device poses to children.
Conventional wisdom in the medical community holds that infants should sleep on flat, firm surfaces. The incline of the Kids II baby rocker and the Rock ‘n Play sleeper could pose a significant health risk to babies. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics said products that restrain children should not be used as routine sleep devices, especially if that restraint is combined with a rocking motion.
DOZENS OF TRAGIC DEATHS AND A DENIAL OF ACCOUNTABILITY BY FISHER-PRICE
The deaths recounted by Consumer Reports show the devastation caused by the negligence of Fisher-Price and Kids II baby rocker. Evan and Keenan Overton’s 5-month-old son Ezra died a few days before Christmas in 2017 after sleeping in the Rock ‘n Play. As the Overtons researched the product online, they found warnings from both parents and pediatricians about the dangers the Rock ‘n Play posed to infants. They also found that Fisher-Price sold the device as a safe way for children to sleep through “naptime and nighttime.”
In addition to the dozens of infant deaths discovered by Consumer Reports, there were several more close calls for families. For example, one 7-week-old boy in South Carolina was hospitalized after his grandmother found him “blue and lifeless” in the Rock ‘n Play.
Unsurprisingly, Fisher-Price stood behind their product for far too long. It maintained that no deaths stemmed directly from the Rock ‘n Play. Representatives from Fisher-Price said that these deaths resulted from medical conditions and situations “in which the product was clearly used in a manner contrary to the safety warnings and instructions.”
Fisher-Price and Kids II eventually recalled these products, but it was only after they faced intense public pressure. While these companies waited to do the right thing, how many families have suffered?
FISHER PRICE AND KIDS II SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE
The troubling findings from Consumer Reports had safety advocates asking why the Rock ‘n Play was still on the market. It’s good that these companies have recalled their deadly baby rockers, but that does not absolve them from the damage they have caused.
Parents should be able to trust the safety of widely available products. When these companies sell a dangerous product, federal regulators should be quick to step in. The system has failed many families, and Fisher-Price should be held accountable for their negligence.
If you or a loved one has lost a child while using Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play or a Kids II baby rocker, we encourage you to contact the wrongful death attorneys at Wapner Newman to speak to our team. We are accepting calls about a potential lawsuit against Fisher-Price and Kids II to make sure they are held responsible for the devastation caused by their product. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.