Family Voices — Alexander’s Story
Alexander died in a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper. He was three months old.
Submitted by his mother, Sara
On September 23, 2011, I put my 15-week old son Alexander in a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper as I helped my other child set up a Mr. Potato Head toy. I left Alexander for no more than 15 minutes, and when I returned I found him unresponsive, and his head was slumped at a strange angle.
I yanked him out of the sleeper and tried to remember CPR, but despite my efforts as well as those of the paramedics and hospital staff, Alexander died.
Neither the doctors at the hospital nor the autopsy provided me a concrete explanation. They just ruled it as sudden unexplained infant death (SUID). There wasn’t any illness, no signs of aspiration, and no fibers in his mouth or throat.
It wasn’t until April 2019 when I found out about all the other infant deaths caused by the Rock ‘n Play that I finally got my answer.
Alexander’s death could have been prevented if Fisher-Price had recalled the product once they knew it was unsafe. If we had only known about the risks associated with inclined sleepers earlier, Alexander might still be with us today.
What’s Happened Since Alexander’s Death?
On April 12, 2019, Fisher-Price recalled all 4.7 million of their Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers. And on April 26, 2019, Kids II recalled their rocking sleepers. KID worked with parent advocates to ban all infant inclined sleep products. In May 2022, Congress passed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act which will ban the manufacture and sale of infant inclined sleep products. The CPSC passed a rule that would eliminate inclined surfaces for sleep and require all infant sleep products to meet a strong standard, which will go into effect in June 2022.
How You Can Take Action
To take action and help prevent further incidents, injuries, and deaths,
there are a number of things you can do:
- Any time you buy a play yard or portable crib, check that the manufacture date is after February 28th, 2013 to make sure that it meets the strong standards set by CPSC.
- Register all infant and toddler durable products so you can be alerted to recalls.
- Check all sleep environments like cribs and other children’s products for recalls by visiting CPSC.gov and typing searching the recall database.
- Register for KID’s monthly email alert to stay up-to-date on all children’s product recalls and receive safety tips and information.
Check out our action steps for all children’s products here.
More Information on Cribs
Although mandatory standards exist for cribs, only recently has an effort been made to strengthen those standards and require testing and verification of new cribs. Because of these standards, all cribs must include proper assembly instructions and diagrams as well as cautionary and warning labels as required by federal law.
More information on Safe Sleep
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. Infants sleep safest following the ABC’s of safe sleep—Alone, on their Back and in a Crib, bassinet or play yard that meets federal standards and hasn’t been recalled. AAP also recommends babies sleep on a flat surface and unrestrained. Nothing should be in the crib except a firm mattress with a tight-fitting sheet.
View our safe sleep video to learn more about how to keep your baby safe while sleeping.