About 100 infant deaths over the last 13 years have been linked to the Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleeper that was recalled in 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Monday, in a repeated warning to parents to stop using the product.
Fisher-Price recalled all of its 4.7 million Rock ’n Play Sleepers in April 2019 after 32 deaths were linked to the sleeper in the nearly 10 years that it had been on the market. In most cases, children suffocated in the sleeper after rolling over from their backs onto their stomachs or sides while unrestrained.
Since the 2019 recall, about 70 additional deaths have been reported, including at least eight that occurred after the initial recall, the commission said on Monday. The commission repeated its notice to customers to immediately stop using the product, which rocks babies to sleep in a cloth-covered cradle, and to contact Fisher-Price for refunds or vouchers. The sleepers had sold for between $40 and $149, the commission said.
A spokeswoman for Mattel, the parent company of Fisher-Price, said on Tuesday that the company stopped selling the Rock ’n Play Sleeper when the recall was announced in April 2019. “Since then, the company has worked diligently to remove all recalled product from the market,” the spokeswoman, Catherine Frymark, said. “Today’s reannouncement serves as a critical reminder to both consumers and resellers that they should not use, sell, or donate the recalled Rock ’n Play.”
Fisher-Price said it was unable to confirm the circumstances of some of the deaths or that the product involved was a Rock ’n Play Sleeper, according to the commission.
The commission on Monday also issued a renewed warning about a similar product, the Kids2 Rocking Sleeper. It said that 15 deaths had been linked to the product, including four that were reported after nearly 700,000 of the rocking sleepers were initially recalled in 2019.
Dr. Lois Lee, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics council on injury, violence and poison prevention, said that it was heartbreaking that more infants had died since the products were initially recalled. She said that the commission must be able to warn the public about dangerous products without industry approval.
“This just underscores how much harder it is to remove millions of dangerous products from homes than it is to never allow them to be sold in the first place,” said Dr. Lee, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. “While the C.P.S.C. now has stronger rules for any new infant sleep product and a ban of all inclined sleepers, those protections cannot undo the tragic losses families have experienced from a recalled product.”
The commission said in June that infants should never sleep in inclined products, like rockers, soothers or swings, because of the risk of suffocation. It issued a rule last year requiring infant sleep products to have a surface angle of no more than 10 degrees. The best way for an infant to sleep, the commission said, is on his or her back, on a firm, flat surface, such as one in a crib or an infant bassinet, which, unlike inclined sleepers, have strict safety standards. Infants should sleep with just a fitted sheet and with no pillows or blankets, the commission said.
While the recall was effective at halting sales of the Rock ’n Play, some remain in use. In 2019, after the recall, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Philadelphia teamed with Kids in Danger, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the safety of children’s products, to see how many day care centers might still be using unsafe inclined sleepers, including the recalled Rock ’n Play. Of 376 licensed child care facilities in three states, one in 10 that had children under 12 months said they still used the sleepers, according to the survey.
Other Fisher-Price products have been recalled in recent years. In 2021, the company recalled its 4-in-1 Rock ’n Glide Soother, after it was linked to four infant deaths between April 2019 and February 2020, and its 2-in-1 Soothe ’n Play Glider, though no deaths were reported in connection with that product. In 2022, the company recalled its Infant-to-Toddler Rocker and Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker after 13 deaths were reported to have happened in the products between 2009 and 2021.
Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois and the ranking member of a House subcommittee focused on consumer protection, urged consumers to get rid of any recalled products.
“The safety of consumers is one of my top priorities,” she said, “and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure the C.P.S.C. has the resources they need to protect consumers and to make sure we get the word out about dangerous products.”