Safety Watchdog Warns Parents After 13 Infants Die in Fisher-Price Seats

Safety Watchdog Warns Parents After 13 Infants Die in Fisher-Price Seats
The Mattel logo is seen on a toy in the Kidding Around toy store Manhattan, New York, on Nov.23, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Nicholas Dolinger
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning to parents of infants that Fisher-Price’s rockers are unfit for sleeping and have been associated with 13 infant deaths over the past 12 years.

On Tuesday, the CPSC released a warning concerning two Fisher-Price products, the company’s Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker and Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, claiming that these rockers with their inclined surfaces are a liability to the safety of infants. The commission referred to at least 13 reported infant deaths in these products between 2009 and 2021.

The CPSC also warned about a Minnie Mouse-themed Kids 2 rocker, which the commission associated with one infant death.

On a flat, horizontal surface, infants are unable to roll over to a prone position, as they lack the strength to do so. However, infants can potentially roll over on an inclined surface such as the aforementioned products, opening the possibility for the child to suffocate. Furthermore, it has been alleged that the angle of these rockers could potentially obstruct the infant’s airways, allowing for suffocation even in the correct position.

“Parents and caregivers should never use inclined products, such as rockers, gliders, soothers, and swings, for infant sleep and should not leave infants in these products unsupervised, unrestrained, or with bedding material, due to the risk of suffocation,” the CPSC said in its statement.

In 2019, Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million of its Rock ’n Play Sleepers under pressure from a group of pediatricians after the product was linked to 10 infant deaths. The company insisted that the product was safe when used correctly, but assented to the recall “due to reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions.”

Congress banned inclined sleepers for infants last May with the passage of the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, but it is unclear whether the above-mentioned Fisher-Price rockers fall under the law. The products have yet to be recalled, and the company insists that its rockers are safe for supervised, waking activity, though the company noted that the rockers were unfit for sleep.

The findings of the CPSC were delayed by two months under the provisions, preventing the commission from publicly disclosing the findings of ongoing safety investigations without taking certain steps to ensure the accuracy and fairness of such suggestions.

Mattel, the parent company of Fisher-Price, did not respond to a request for comment.