Following nearly a dozen infant deaths associated with Fisher Price “Rock N’ Play” sleepers, federal safety officials are warning parents to stop using the product by the time a child is three months old, when they are old enough to roll-over and may face a suffocation risk in the sleeper.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a Fisher-Price Rock’n Play warning on April 5, instructing consumers to stop placing their infants before they begin to show signs that they can roll over independently.
The warning comes after the manufacturer and CPSC officials became aware of at least 10 infant deaths with the Fisher Price sleepers, which are marketed under the “Rock’n Play” brand. According to the release, all of the fatalities occurred since 2015, and each involved infants three months or older.
The Rock’n Play models impacted by the warning are inclined sleepers, which include restraints to prevent an infant from being able to sit up or roll over. However, when a child is not fastened properly in the restraints, the infant may turn on their side, or roll completely over and not have the proper neck strength to lift their head, creating a suffocation risk.
Fisher-Price General Manager, Chuck Scothon, issued a statement Friday stating the Rock’n Play Sleepers meet all of the mandatory and voluntary safety standards set by ASTM International and the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA).
Inclining infant sleepers are similar to bassinets, however they are designed to elevate the baby’s head and torso. Inclining the infant during sleep has been shown to help prevent acid-reflux or congestion.
Inclining sleepers are meant to be used for newborns and infants that are not able to roll over on their own. Parents will not know the exact moment a child gains that ability, which is why the restraints are highly recommended and the best way to prevent suffocation hazards.
In May 2018, the CPSC issued an inclining infant sleeper warning, indicating the agency had received multiple fatality reports involving babies who rolled over and suffocated because they were not properly restrained. The warning called for parents and caregivers to always use the restraints supplied with inclining bassinet-like products and always provide safe sleep environments for children and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
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 American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that 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.