Fisher-Price and its parent company, Mattel, have voluntarily recalled more than four million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers. The sleepers, which were marketed as an “inclined sleeper designed for all-night sleep,” have been linked to more than 30 infant deaths since the product’s launch in 2009.
The voluntary recall was announced on April 12 and followed both a joint safety warning from Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as well as a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urging the CPSC to recall all of the popular sleepers.
“This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” said Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics in a release. “When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it’s being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case.”
The AAP recommends a safe sleep environment for infants that includes putting the child on their back on a firm sleep surface, sharing a room with your child (but not sharing a bed) and removing any soft bedding from the sleep surface, among other suggestions. The Academy says that sitting devices, such as “car seats, strollers, swings, infant carriers, and infant slings, are not recommended for routine sleep in the hospital or at home, particularly for young infants.”
Sleep Safety Concerns
In its official recall, the CPSC says the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper has been tied to more than 30 infant deaths as a result of unrestrained infants rolling over in the sleeper, or because of “other circumstances” which they did not expand upon.
“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,” wrote Fisher-Price and the CPSC in their joint statement ahead of the recall.
Pediatric sleep consultant Susete Pinto of Night Night Baby Consulting said she never recommends the Rock ‘n Play to her clients because of the sleep habits it can generate.
“As a Child Sleep Consultant, I have never recommended the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper,” she told Mattress Clarity via email. “When I work with clients and see that they are using it, we immediately transition to a bassinet or crib. Rock ‘n Play Sleepers do not allow babies to learn healthy sleep habits. It creates a rocking sleep prop, which means, baby will think they need to be rocked at every sleep situation.”
Parents And Experts React
The recall may come as a shock to parents who have incorporated the Rock ‘n Play sleeper into their infants’ routines.
“The product is top-rated among parents because it is highly portable, easy to maintain and was allowed for infant sleep,” Dr. Tsvetelina Velikova, a board-certified pediatrician, told Mattress Clarity. “The babies seem to be very pleased — extra features such as a musical part and toys are handy to entertain the child if they get bored.”
While Velikova said she had never recommended the Rock ‘n Play specifically, she has suggested similar products.
“When I first heard of the Rock ‘n Play recall, I immediately thought ‘No! This has to be a mistake. The Rock ‘n Play is my absolute favorite newborn baby gadget… it couldn’t possibly be recalled,'” Amanda Miller, a mother of two from Cleveland, told Mattress Clarity.
At the recommendation of other parents, Miller said she and her husband let both of their daughters sleep in the Rock ‘n Play morning, noon, and night. “It worked — they actually slept well in it! We followed the directions, strapped baby into the safety harness, and never thought twice about safety,” she told us.
Miller says that after this recall, “I will sincerely think twice before allowing any baby to sleep anywhere but a crib or bassinet.”
How To Find Your Refund
Per the recall, Fisher-Price and the CPSC have urged consumers to immediately stop using their Rock ‘n Play Sleepers.
Families who own one of the sleepers are eligible for a refund. Consumers who purchased the sleeper new on or before October 12, 2018 may be able to receive a full cash refund.
For more information, consumers can contact Fisher-Price online by going to www.service.mattel.com and clicking on “Recalls & Safety Alerts.” Consumers can also call 866-812-6518 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST from Monday through Friday.
Featured image: Steve30408/Shutterstock
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