Family Voices — Ezra’s Story
Ezra died when he suffocated while in a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play. He was five months old.
Submitted by his parents
Ezra was my 5-month-old son. He was a beautiful boy with a contagious smile. Ezra had his whole life ahead of him before his unexpected death.
On December 22, 2017, we put our son in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper at the workout facility just down the hall from our apartment while we worked out. Ezra fell asleep in it, so we carried the Rock ‘n Play back to our apartment with him in it. I stayed out in the family room and lay down on the couch next to the rocker, telling my wife that she could get some rest in the bedroom. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I looked up, and I saw Ezra, turned into the monkey’s padded face and standing up in the seat of the chair. He was stiff like a doll, with his face twisted toward the side/back of the seat. His nose was squished flat. He was unresponsive and we immediately called 911. He was blue, and his body was hard. He did not feel real. When I picked him up, he felt like a doll.
When parents and caregivers purchase products like the Rock ‘n Play, we do so with the confidence that our children will be safe while using it. Our family had always thought Fisher-Price was a reputable company. We were using the chair just as it was intended to be used. There was no reason to believe that something like this would happen to our Ezra.
We would have done anything to protect Ezra from the dangers of this world, but his sleeper was never something that crossed our mind. Simply issuing a warning for this product is not enough. If we were not aware of this warning, we assume there are thousands of parents like us who are also unaware. Like other families, we received this sleeper from our neighbors as a hand-me-down. They found this product to be a lifesaver, but our experience was different.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that it does not recommend that this or similar inclined products be used for routine sleep. Despite that, this product is called a sleeper and marketed for overnight sleep. We could have never predicted that our child would lose his life this way. It is heart wrenching to know that other families could also experience a loss from putting their trust in this life-threatening product. Our family shares Ezra’s story to inform other parents and caregivers of the dangers of the Rock ‘n Play.
What has happened since?
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. All inclined sleep products are unsafe for sleep. 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.