This past Friday, The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price issued a warning citing reports of 10 infant deaths since 2015 that are possibly linked to use of the Rock n’ Play Sleeper.
However, this was quickly followed on Tuesday with an announcement by the The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists, calling for the immediate recall of the popular sleeper due to links with up to 32 deaths between 2011 and 2018.
For some of the infants, the cause of death listed was asphyxia, or the inability to breathe caused by the babies’ position, but all of the reports involved infants who were unrestrained and rolled from their back to their side or stomach.
Fisher-Price has actually issued a warning in the past for parents to stop using the product once their infants are able to roll over on their own due to the possibility of falling out of the sleeper. However, the reported deaths indicated that some parents were still using the sleeper without the three point harness restraint even though their infants are capable of rolling over.
As the majority of the incidents involved children above 3 months old or able to rollover on their own, the repeated warning this past week to stop using the product was directed at parents of children that fell within those areas.
But the AAP feels that the warning didn’t go far enough to protect infants and issued a call for parents to completely stop using the product and stores around the country to remove it from their shelves.
Dr. Kyle Yasuda, the President of AAP, said ‘This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately” and went on to state that the evidence shows that the sleeper “puts infants’ lives at risk, and CPSC must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies.”
The alert from AAP states that Consumer Reports concluded that the 32 deaths included babies younger than the 3-month threshold cited in the initial warning, which concerned them greatly. Additionally, because of the risk that an infant could roll or turn into an unsafe position and be incapable of moving, increasing the risk of suffocation or strangulation, the AAP advises against using car seats, strollers or other devices for sleep.
However, in addition to improper use, Fisher-Price has said that some of the deaths may have been caused by existing medical conditions. Their General Manager, Chuck Scothon, issued a statement that said “”It is essential that the product warnings and instructions are always followed. We will continue to do all we can to ensure that parents and caregivers have the information necessary to create a safe sleep environment for infants.”
The statement went on to say that the sleeper meets all “applicable safety standards” and that the “safety of children is our highest priority. The loss of a child is tragic and heart-breaking.”
Another manufacturer has faced recent criticism over product safety and failing to issue recalls. Ikea has been taking heat for not taking more action with the safety of the eight-drawer model of their Hemnes Dresser that has been linked to a child’s death and other accidents involving toddlers.
The problem with the product is that it is prone to tip-over if not secured to the wall, a warning that is not included with the product according to parents and safety advocates.
The stability test for dressers like this model, which the Hemnes Dresser passed, involves closing all drawers and opening one at a time with a 50-pound weight attached to determine whether the dresser is prone to tip overs.
According to public documents filed in a lawsuit against Ikea, in 2017 one of the dressers fell on a 2-year old boy just after he woke up. According to the police report, the boy’s mother found him trapped and unresponsive under the dresser and unfortunately he did not survive.
The mother recently pointed out that her son weighed considerably less than the tip over test and that children don’t necessarily open a single drawer at a time. “What that says to me is that this standard is not good enough,” she said.
The parties recently settled this lawsuit but despite this tragedy and even an incident that was recorded on home security that went viral thanks to the extraordinary efforts to rescue him by the trapped toddler’s sibling, Ikea still has not recalled the dresser.
While some companies may be slow to issue recalls due to meeting current safety regulations or consumers not heeding product warnings, safety advocates like the AAP are pushing them for action. Please take the time to read all product safety sheets and of course, it’s always best to act on the side of caution whenever there are reported safety concerns.
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