On April 12, 2019, Mattel, the owner of Fisher-Price, recalled 4.7 million Rock ‘n Plays it had sold, citing safety concerns. The popular sleeper product has been connected to at least 32 infant deaths.
The recall, which forbids any retailer from selling the dangerous product, happened more than a year after a complaint of an infant death caused by the Rock ‘n Play was made to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many grieving parents and pediatricians argue that this recall is long overdue.
The baby sleeper, released in 2009, uses rocking motions and music to soothe infants. Although the sleeper’s inclined cocoon-like shape directly violates AAP’s SIDS prevention guidelines that recommend babies sleep on flat surfaces, the Rock ‘n Play was advertised as a safe sleep product.
However, the fact that it took years for Fisher-Price to recall the Rock ‘n Play speaks to the complicated recall process in the U.S. — a process that many public safety advocates say needs to be improved.
How does a product get recalled?
When shoppers spend money on a product, they assume it’s been expertly tested, manufactured, and produced. In reality, though, millions of units get pulled from shelves each year because they are safety hazards: from Ikea dressers toppling over to Samsung cell phones that spontaneously combust.
A small government agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, oversees the product recall process. The CPSC researches hazardous products, studies consumer complaints, enforces safety rules in specific product categories, and works with companies to issue voluntary recalls.
Vehicle recalls happen through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while food recalls are issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service and by the Food and Drug Administration.
The CPSC does not seek out complaints; instead, it waits for companies to self-report product defects that could cause harm or risk of death. Unfortunately, they often shift the blame to consumers.
32 deaths linked to the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play sleeper
In the case of Mattel and Fisher-Price, the company stated that the 32 infant deaths linked to the Rock ‘n Play sleeper were caused by product misuse and parents’ failure to read instructions. The company is advising that “consumers should immediately stop using the product.”
At Cory Watson, we believe that safety comes first, especially when our children’s lives are put at risk. Recalls should be the last line of defense in our product safety system. The first is that dangerous products don’t reach people’s homes in the first place. Parents should be notified if the products they trust are under investigation, to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable members of society: children.
If you or a loved one has lost a child or if your child was injured through the use of a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper, contact us today by calling (877) 562-0000 now or fill out our free online consultation form.