Fisher-Price Ignored Warnings After Dozens Of Babies Died In Sleeper
By Bill Galluccio
June 8, 2021
A Congressional report blasted Fisher-Price for ignoring safety warnings after dozens of babies died while using the Rock' n Play inclined baby sleeper. The sleeper was on the market for ten years and linked to the deaths of at least 50 infants.
The sleeper was designed and marketed for infants to sleep overnight at a thirty-degree angle.
The report, commissioned by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, found that the company failed to conduct "independent research, or even internal company research, showing that it was safe for babies to sleep at an angle."
It pointed out that having infants sleep at an angle is not recommended by experts, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics. They recommend that infants sleep on a hard and flat surface to prevent sudden infant death syndrome. The committee found that the company consulted with just a single doctor who did not specialize in pediatrics.
"The company never completed any research establishing that it was safe for infants to sleep at an angle before bringing the product to market," the committee wrote.
Once the product was released in 2009, the company ignored safety warnings from numerous groups and government agencies in Australia and Canada. The first reports of infants dying started in 2012, but Fisher-Price continued to sell and market the sleeper.
Congress accused the company of putting profits ahead of safety for waiting until 2019 to recall the sleeper.
"The Rock' n Play became a wildly successful product for Fisher-Price, bringing in millions of dollars in sales every year," the report stated. "But documents obtained by the Committee show that Fisher-Price became aware of serious concerns about the Rock' n Play soon after its launch, including from regulatory bodies in Australia and Canada, pediatricians in the United States, and from consumers who were concerned the product was not safe for overnight sleep."
Fisher-Price pushed back against the findings of the report in a statement.
"The Rock' n Play Sleeper was designed and developed following extensive research, medical advice, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing and review," a Fisher-Price spokesperson said. "It met or exceeded all applicable regulatory standards. As recently as 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed to adopt the ASTM voluntary standard for a 30-degree angled inclined sleeper as federal law."
The report was released less than a week after Fisher-Price recalled two other sleepers that were linked to the deaths of four infants.
Photo: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission