Fisher-Price Inclined Sleeper Suffocation Wrongful Death Lawsuit Lawyers
If Your Baby Suffocated While Lying Down in a Recalled Fisher-Price Sleeper, Rock ‘n Glide Soother or Soothe ‘n Play Glider, Contact Our Firm for Your Free Consultation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 10, 2023, Fisher-Price reminded consumers not to use its Rock ‘n Play sleepers. Fisher-Price put the products on the market in 2009. The company downplayed safety concerns before putting the sleepers on the market, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Walmart, Target and Amazon were among the leading sellers of the sleepers, at prices from $40 to $149, between September 2009 to April 2019.
The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was designed to rock babies to sleep. The 30-degree incline was supposed to help babies sleep, but is dangerous because, when babies roll from their backs to their stomachs or sides, their heavy heads can fall forward into a chin-to-chest posture and obstruct their airways, leading to suffocation. In response to initial reports of injuries and deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a rule in 2017 to make sure the sleeper is used properly. CPSC issued an alert to parents with advice to use the device with restraints.
Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million sleepers in April 2019, after 32 deaths were linked to the sleeper, as well as over 700 injuries. The recall halted sales of the Rock ‘n Play sleeper, but some remained in use. A survey cited by the New York Times found that 10% of day care centers still used the sleeper after the recall. While it is illegal to sell or distribute recalled products, some caretakers may have missed the recall. The re-announcement, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), followed the reporting of about 70 more deaths, at least eight of which occurred after the 2019 recall, according to Alexander Hoehn-Saric, CPSC Chair.
CPSC stated in June 2022 that flat is best and infants should never sleep in products inclined more than 10 degrees because of the risk of suffocation. The Safe Sleep For Babies Act, passed by Congress in 2022, bans inclined infant sleep items.
In January 2023, Kids2, an Atlanta-based company, also re-announced its 2019 recall of 694,000 Rocking Sleepers. A total of 15 infants have reportedly died using Kids2’s Rocking Sleepers, according to the CPSC.
On June 6, 2021, Fisher-Price recalled 270,000 infant gliders, including its 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers and 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders, after four infants suffocated. CPSC issued a warning stating that the infants were unrestrained, left on their backs, and were later discovered on their stomachs. Fisher-Price and CPSC issued a joint statement announcing the nationwide recall of the company’s 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders and 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers. The statement stated that the reported deaths only occurred in 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers that were sold between April 2019 and February 2020. There have been no reports of fatalities connected to the Fisher-Price 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders.
CPSC’s Acting Chairman Robert Adler stated that the inclined products, such as rockers, soothers, gliders, and swings, are unsafe for infant sleep and pose a risk of suffocation.
Another Fisher-Price spokesperson, General Manager Chuck Scothon, stated that Fisher-Price is committed to instructing caregivers and parents on safely using all of the company’s products, including the significance of following all product instructions and safety warnings to assure the health and safety of infants and small children.
The joint statement stated that approximately 120,000 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers were sold in the United States from January 2014 through December 2020. The statement also reported that 55,000 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Gliders were sold in the United States from November 2018 through May 2021.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reiterated its recommendation concerning the safest place for babies to sleep is on a “firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard,” the CPSC statement stated. The CPSC also warned parents and caregivers never to add pillows, blankets, or other items to an infant’s sleeping environment, and “babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs.”
U.S. House Committee Report Says Fisher-Price Ignored Warnings and Amassed $200 Million
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 7, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform released a final report called: “Infant Deaths in Inclined Sleepers: Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘N Play Reveals Dangerous Flaws in U.S. Product Safety.” The U.S. House of Representatives Committee report alleges that Fisher-Price executives repeatedly ignored safety warnings even after receiving (50) fifty fatal incident reports stating infants were rolling over and suffocating to death in the company’s Rock’ n Play Sleeper. Tragically, Fisher-Price disregarded the fatal incident reports concerning its Rock’ n Play Sleeper for approximately ten years before finally recalling the sleeper in 2019. The U.S. House Committee report also affirmed that Fisher-Price failed to adequately test the Rock’ n Play Sleeper for safety before the company put it on the market back in 2009.
U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York stated, “What we found is absolutely shocking.”
In August of 2019, the Committee began a formal investigation upon learning of the infant deaths begin reported by news media. The news stories blamed inadequate design and inept safety research conducted on inclined sleep products, which also conflicted with federal safety guidelines on safe infant sleep. Fisher-Price’s first inclined sleeper to be sold in North America was the Rock’ n Play Sleeper.
The Committee’s investigation included seizing thousands of internal documents from five infant inclined sleep product manufacturers. The Committee also administered interviews with former and current Fisher-Price employees and Consumer Product Safety Commission officials. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is a governmental agency that is responsible for oversight of consumer products.
The results of the Committee’s investigation showed that Fisher-Price:
- failed to make sure its Rock’ n Play was safe before selling the sleepers;
- ignored warnings from parents, pediatricians, and foreign regulators that the Rock’ n Play sleepers was dangerous; and
- continued to market the sleepers as “overnight sleep” although there was clear evidence this put infants at risk of injury or death.
- Fisher-Price only tested its sleeper on 62 infants prior to releasing the sleeper products to the public, and without medical doctors analyzing the results of the tests. Approximately 4.7 million Rock’ n Play units were sold before the product was pulled from the market due injury and death risks.
The Committee’s investigation also revealed that Fisher-Price along with other infant inclined sleeper manufacturers operated with ineffectual government oversight, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission lacks the requisite authority to shield infants from potentially lethal products.
Internal documents also discovered that Fisher-Price conducted market research to determine how sales might be affected if the Rock’ n Play was rebranded as a “Soother,” and no longer marketed as a “Sleeper.” The company’s internal research showed that new mothers were most interested in purchasing “Sleeper products,” showing that the product might also be used for nighttime sleep.
In 2019, the CPSC retained a medical expert to assess the “risk of infants rolling over and suffocating in inclined sleep products,” after Fisher-Price failed to present its data that shows its Rock’ n Play was safe. The expert’s final report affirmed that the Rock’ n Play and other similar inclined sleeper products were unsafe for infant sleep. The U.S. House Committee report states that this was the first time this type of research was conducted by sleeper manufacturers or the CPSC since the product was put on the marketing in 2009.
According to the U.S. House Committee’s report, the “Rock’ n Play” became a hit for Fisher-Price and brought in approximately $200 million over the past ten years. Documents collected by the U.S. House Committee showed that Fisher-Price became knowledgeable of the deadly risks associated with its Rock’ n Play sleepers soon after the sleeper’s launch. The warnings came from regulatory bodies in Canada and Australia, U.S. pediatricians, and from consumers who all claimed the Rock’ n Play sleepers were not safe for baby “overnight sleep.”
One Fisher-Price spokesperson disputed the U.S. House Committee’s report and stated the Rock’ n Play was “designed and developed following extensive research, medical advice, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing and review.”
However, the U.S. House Committee’s 38-page report states that Fisher-Price never conducting any “independent research, or even internal company research, showing that it was safe for babies to sleep at an angle.” The report continued by stating there is a long history of research into infant sleep that prove it is unsafe for infants to sleep at any angle. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has also recommended from many years that it’s safer for babies to “sleep on a hard, flat surface.” The American Academy of Pediatrics states these recommendations were enacted to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
It is also alleged that Fisher-Price relied on data collected on other inclined products, such as car seats. The company also relied on one “expert” who did not specialize in pediatrics, before the company began selling the inclined baby sleepers. That expert was also accused by the Texas Medical Board for “using unsafe practices” and practicing without a medical license.
The U.S. House Committee report also states that Fisher-Price provided no evidence of being concerns about fatalities linked to their infant sleepers or that the company took action to warn parents. The report claims that Fisher-Price insisted that its infant sleepers met the safety guidelines at the time and “was safe when used in accordance with its instructions and warnings.” Astonishingly, one Fisher-Price spokesperson stated that its Rock’ n Play Sleeper “was as safe or safer than other sleep environments such as cribs and bassinets.” Contradicting federal safety recommendations and guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
This timely U.S. House Committee report comes a few days after Fisher-Price initiated a new recall affecting 4-in-1 Rock’ n Glide Soothers and its 2-in-1 Soothe’ n Play Gliders, which have been linked to four infant deaths.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
Did you lose a child due to a recalled Fisher-Price Sleeper, Rock ‘n Glide Soother or Soothe ‘n Play Glider? Parker Waichman LLP helps families who have suffered a loss due to a dangerous product receive complete monetary compensation. For your free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
New York | Brooklyn | Queens | Long Island | New Jersey | Florida
Call us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (800-968-7529) | Schedule your free consultation