For many years, the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was considered to be the “must have” product among parents with infants. Intended to help babies who otherwise have trouble sleeping, Fisher Price sold nearly five million of these devices. However, there have been numerous reports of deaths that have been linked with the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommended that children who have the ability to roll over should stop using this product. Three days after that, Fisher Price issued a recall for all 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play sleepers on the market.
Rock ‘n Play Sleepers were introduced to the market in 2009. The product proved so popular that there were multiple models introduced and it became one of Fisher Price’s best-selling products. The product received high reviews from parents who viewed it as a miracle sleep solution for babies who they could not get to sleep. The sleeper was angled at an incline to purportedly help sleep. The product was used by as much as one in eight babies that were born in the United States in the ten years since it had been introduced. The sleeper was originally sold as a bassinet. However, when the CPSC began to tighten safety standards for bassinets, Fisher Price sought and was granted an exemption because it had an incline of more than ten inches. While the product was sold as a sleeper in the U.S., it was marketed as a “soothing seat” in Canada because it did not meet the safety standards for sleepers.
However, there were a small but steady amount of reports that soon surfaced about infant deaths that were connected with the use of this product. There are two different ways that infants could be harmed while sleeping in this product. First, the infant could end up in the position where their chin is pressed to their chest, potentially closing the airway while they are sleeping. Second, there were instances in which infants rolled over in the sleeper. When that happened, the babies could potentially end up with their face trapped in the material which pads the sleeper. Since 2009, there have been reports of over 30 deaths of infants who were sleeping in this product. Ten of these deaths have occurred since 2015.
The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was somewhat of a departure from the recognized and accepted sleep standards. The American Academy of Pediatrics usually recommends that infants sleep on a flat surface with no padding. One reason is that this reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The sleeper is neither flat nor entirely firm.
The amount of deaths came to light in an April 8, 2019 article published in Consumer Reports. The article detailed some of the safety concerns surrounding the product. Immediately after the publication of the article, the AAP issued a call for the CPSC to recall the sleeper. After the CPSC advised that babies who could roll over were not to use the product, Fisher Price recalled all of the products that have been sold three days later. Other competitors have followed by recalling their versions of the product as well.
Improper marketing is one factor that is at issue in a product liability case. If a manufacturer is selling an otherwise safe product for a use for which it is not suited, they can be found liable for any injuries suffered. The defective product lawyers at The Law Offices of Sadaka Associates can help advise as to the merits of any legal claim against Fisher Price.