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Public warned against using infant rockers for sleep after 14 deaths

Federal safety officials are warning against using infant rockers for sleep, citing at least 14 deaths linked to products made by Fisher-Price and another by Kids2.

At least 13 reported deaths between 2009 and 2021 involved Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price said on Tuesday. Fisher-Price has sold more than 17 million of the rockers worldwide since the 1990s.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

A separate release by the CPSC and Kids2 cited at least one reported death in 2019 of an infant in a Bright Starts Rocker. Kids2 has sold more than 1.8 million rockers worldwide since 2012.

Urgent warning 

Parents and caregivers should never use inclined products, including rockers, gliders, soothers and swings, for infant sleep and should never leave babies in the products unattended or with bedding material due to the risk of suffocation, the agency and companies stated.

Consumer advocates echoed this advice.

"Companies should not market or depict infant products such as rockers, gliders and inclined products as a way to get babies to sleep or as sleep products since they are not safe for infant sleep," Dev Gowda, assistant director of Kids In Danger, said in a statement.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

The CPSC recently finalized a rule that goes into effect later this month, or June 22, requiring infant sleep products to have a sleep surface angle of 10 degrees or less.

A House committee found llast year that Fisher-Price ignored warnings about its Rock 'n Play inclined sleepers, which were on the market for around 10 years before being recalled in 2019 and which were linked to more than 30 infant deaths.

CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka called on Congress to change the rules to allow the agency to issue its warnings more quickly.

"Just three years ago, this agency oversaw the recall of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play after a staggering number of infant deaths. Tragically, we now grieve 13 more infant deaths in Fisher Price Rockers," Trumka said in a statement.

When the safety commission becomes aware of a pattern of death and injury tied to a product, it must first seek permission from the manufacturer before warning the public. 

"Here, the gag rule delayed our message to the public by two months," Trumka said ,adding that "Even with cooperation from Fisher-Price, we fought an uphill battle to release this information to warn parents and caregivers."

Safety tips

President Biden last month signed into law the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which bans the manufacture or sale of padded crib bumper pads and inclined sleep products linked to hundreds of deaths. 

The CPSC offers the following safety tips for parents and caregivers:

  • The best place for an infant to sleep is on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard.
  • Use a fitted sheet only, and never add blankets, pillows, padded crib bumpers or other items to an infant's sleeping environment.
  • Infants should always be placed to sleep on their back. Infants who fall asleep in an inclined or upright position should be moved to a safe sleep environment with a firm, flat surface such as a crib, bassinet or play yard.
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