Late on Friday afternoon, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price announced a recall of 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers after reports of 32 deaths from the product. This was the culmination of almost a year of attention to the product’s hazards, although safe sleep groups and KID have been warning about the hazards of this product class – infant inclined sleep products – and the Rock ‘n Play for years.
Babies sleep safest in a crib, play yard or bassinet that meets federal standards. Nothing should be in the crib except a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet. Babies should not sleep inclined or restrained. A safe sleep environment is the one place parents and caregivers can place an infant and know they will be safe, even as the parent sleeps or attends to other things.
So first a timeline of the Rock ‘n Play:
- May 2018: CPSC warns about deaths in infant inclined sleep products, often when a baby turns or rolls over and is stuck against the padding. But no brand names were mentioned, and the only advice was to use the restraint or take a child out of the product when they can roll over.
- April 5, 2019: CPSC and Fisher-Price warn specifically about the Rock ‘n Play and report 10 deaths of infants who turn over and suffocate. Again, the warning states to use restraints. CPSC says stop using with babies three months or older, but Fisher-Price doesn’t join that warning.
- April 8, 2019: Consumer Reports releases a story accounting for 32 infant deaths in the Rock ‘n Play, including heart wrenching stories of parents finding their infants lifeless. When asked about the additional deaths, Fisher-Price pointed to ‘medical conditions’ and misuse.
- April 12, 2019: 4PM Eastern time, CPSC and Fisher-Price announce a recall of all 4.7 million Rock ‘n Plays.
CPSC says consumers who participate in the recall can get a refund or voucher – sounds good right? But small print at the Mattel recall page (four clicks from the CPSC announcement) says the refund is only for those who have owned the Rock ‘n Play for six months or less – seemingly a small portion of the 4.7 million. Other consumers get a voucher – which ranges in value based on how long you have had the product. Not such a good deal.
KID is relieved to see this product recalled. That means it cannot be sold – new or used—legally. We urge consumers to participate in the recall and get this dangerous sleep product out of homes and child care facilities. However, we are disappointed with the quality of the remedy in this recall. It will not encourage full participation which should be the goal of a recall. We urge Fisher-Price to extend the time of the refund offer to a minimum of three years and increase the value of the vouchers to incentivize consumers to participate.
Questions? Reach out to Nancy Cowles via email or call 312.595.0649.