Commentary

CPSC, Fisher-Price Warn Parents About 'Sleeper' For Infants Who Roll

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price issued a joint warning Friday about the latter’s Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, reporting that at least 10 infants older than three months have died by rolling over in the product since 2015. They recommend that parents stop using it once their infants reach that age, or sooner if they “exhibit rollover capabilities.”

“The latest death was reported last month, said Patty Davis, a spokeswoman with CPSC. It’s unclear when the other deaths took place. Davis said the commission is currently investigating the product,” writes CNN’s Nicole Chavez.

“If it turns out that it needs to be recalled, we will move forward with that,” Davis said.

“CPSC has previously warned consumers to use restraints in infant inclined sleep products,” according to its release. “Fisher-Price warns consumers to stop using the product when infants can roll over, but the reported deaths show that some consumers are still using the product when infants are capable of rolling and without using the three-point harness restraint.”

“A child fatality is an unimaginable tragedy,” a separate statement issued by Fisher-Price parent Mattel reads. In it, Fisher-Price general manager Chuck Scothon reminds parents to “always place infants on their backs to sleep, and make sure that no pillows, blankets or extra padding are placed in the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.” He also points out that the product “meets all applicable safety standards.”

“Parenting blogs have praised the baby sleeper for years. In a blog post from 2016 on storyoffive.com, a mother called the sleeper the best baby product she had ever bought. In a blog post in February, writers at CynicalParent.com called it ‘magic’ but suggested that parents see their child’s pediatrician before making a purchase,” Sandra E. Garcia writes for the New York Times.

“In a 2013 blog post, Dr. Roy Benaroch, a pediatrician in Atlanta, wrote his first recommendation against using it. He cited sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics as reason enough not to use the Rock ’n Play,” Garcia continues.

“The guidelines went over several important ways that parents can ensure that their children were sleeping safely,” Benaroch tells Garcia. “Among them was that babies should be placed to sleep on a firm, flat surface, and on their back. The Rock ’n Play is neither firm nor flat.”

In another post in 2016, Benaroch wrote: “The Rock-n-Play Sleeper … is marketed and sold as a ‘sleeper.’ You can tell, because the word ‘sleeper’ is in the name of the product. One might think that it’s a good, safe place for a baby to sleep. But it’s not. It’s long past time for Fisher-Price to stop selling it, or at least change its name and marketing.”

“Sometimes parents confuse the idea that when their baby starts to develop more stable head control at 3-4 months, they can dismiss or be less vigilant about recommended sleeping positions, but that’s not safe for their baby. The fact is, infants shouldn’t be put down to sleep in these products that are just meant for play time,” Dr. Tricia Jean Gold of Tribeca Pediatrics tells Today.com's  Ronnie Koenig.

“Dr. Gold notes that devices like the Rock ’n Play can come in handy when you need to put your baby down for a moment but that parents should not get into the habit of allowing a baby to sleep in them. She also cautions that due to variance in infant sizes, parents should not rely on the harness to keep the child from rolling over, as babies can wiggle their way into a variety of positions,” Koenig continues.

“This is the second Fisher-Price product to raise concerns this year. In February, 44,000 Power Wheels Barbie Dream Campers were recalled due to a defect that could allow the cars to keep moving after the pedal is released,” Amanda Hoover points out on NJ.com.

The news was covered extensively in Australia over the weekend, where the product is one of the the country’s most popular baby sleepers, according toDaily Mail Australia

“A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths in Australia associated with the product, but it was being investigated ‘as a matter of priority,’” Carrie Fellner writes for the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The ACCC urges parents with this product to keep it out of reach of children,” the spokesperson tells her. “We are always concerned by reports such as those we are seeing from the U.S.”

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