Investigation finds product tied to at least 32 deaths; CR calls for much stronger action by industry, government to ensure safe sleep by infants on a firm, flat surface—not at an incline
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Consumer Reports today published the results of an investigation into the safety of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper—a product designed and marketed for babies to sleep on an incline—and found it is tied to at least 32 infant deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price issued a warning about the product on April 5, several days after CR asked for comment. In light of its findings, CR said this alert does not do nearly enough to minimize the risk of suffocation by infants, and called for far stronger action.
“Based on the deaths and injuries associated with the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, the product clearly puts infants’ safety at risk and should be recalled immediately,” said William Wallace, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “All other inclined sleepers should be investigated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These products conflict with American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations, and manufacturers should pull them off the market. CR also recommends that people not use them for infant sleep or leave infants unattended in them.
“The CPSC’s April 5 statement helps alert parents and caregivers about the risks associated with the Rock ‘n Play, but the warning is long overdue and falls far short of what is needed, especially given how long ago the CPSC first received reports of fatal incidents. The statement also risks minimizing Fisher-Price’s responsibility for safety, when in reality the CPSC has confirmed to CR that it’s investigating whether the Rock ‘n Play contains a defect. We do hope this warning means the agency will be giving consumers more protective, timely, and consistent safe sleep advice going forward—but that should be just the start.
“To truly protect the public, the CPSC should set strong rules for all infant sleep products, including mandating what medical experts already recommend: a firm, flat surface in a bare crib, bassinet, or play yard. And if products don’t meet the rules, the agency should quickly get them off the market and out of people’s homes, even if they conform to voluntary industry standards. It’s totally inappropriate for companies or the CPSC to put the bulk of the responsibility for safety on parents and caregivers—especially when a product indicates it’s safe for routine sleep but really isn’t—or to imply that they’re to blame for tragedies,” Wallace added.
Contact: David Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-462-6262
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.