A number of individual wrongful death and class action lawsuits have already been filed over Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play infant sleepers, which were recalled earlier this month following dozens of infant deaths linked to the design.
Fisher-Price announced the infant sleeper recall on April 17, just days after federal regulators warned consumers that the products pose a serious safety risk as infants get old enough to roll over, linking suffocation injuries to the design.
The day after the recall announcement, the parents of a child who died in one of the millions of recalled sleepers filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturers and distributors. That has been followed by at least two Fisher-Price infant sleeper class action lawsuits brought on behalf of consumers who purchased the sleepers believing them to be safe.
At least 32 infant deaths have already been linked to the sleepers, which appear to have occurred when infants rolled onto their stomachs while in the sleepers. The recall affected nearly 5 million units.
Samantha Drover-Mundy and Zachary Mundy, parents of a little girl who died in one of the sleepers, filed a wrongful death complaint (PDF) against Fisher-Price, Mattel, and Amazon in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York on April 18. Their daughter, identified only as L.M., died in September 2018 in a Rock ‘N Play Sleeper just before she turned three months old.
“L.M. died just a few minutes after being placed in a Rock ‘n Play,” the lawsuit states. “L.M.’s death was a shattering event which would not have occurred if the Rock ‘n Play’s design was safe.”
That complaint was followed by a class action lawsuit (PDF) filed by Cassandra Mulvey on April 19 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, and a similar class action complaint (PDF) filed by Linda Black on April 23 in the Central District of California.
Neither of those lawsuits involve incidents of personal injury, but instead seek class action status to force Fisher-Price and Mattel, Inc. to provide restitution to all consumers who bought the sleepers not realizing they may be putting their children at risk.
Since the recall is still fairly new, there are likely a lot of parents and caregivers who are unaware of the potential risks linked to the sleepers.
The CPSC has instructed consumers to stop using the sleepers immediately and to contact Fisher-Price at 866-812-6518 or visit them online to view the Recalls & Safety Alerts for information on how to receive a refund or voucher.
According to the FDA, about 4,000 infants annually die unexpectedly during sleep from accidental suffocation, sudden infant death syndrome, or unknown causes. Many of the reported fatalities are a result of suffocation from rolling on their sides or stomach.
To reduce suffocation and accidental deaths, the AAP recommends infants sleep on their backs positioned on a firm, empty surface, not containing any soft objects toys, pillows or loose bedding. The recommendation for new parents is to always follow the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone on the Back in a bare Crib.