Babies have died in Fisher-Price seats not meant for sleep, Safety Commission says

After at least 13 infant deaths in rockers made by Fisher-Price, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned customers of the risks of tilted products for children in the first months of life.

The deaths have occurred within the past 12 years and have been associated with Infant-to-Toddler Rocker or Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker, according to an announcement Tuesday by Commissioner Richard L. Trumka Jr. The guidance Doctors and agency experts say infants should only sleep on flat surfaces.

“No recline product, made by Fisher-Price or any other company, is safe for infant sleep,” Trumka said. “Only a flat, firm surface is safe.”

Another company product, a Fisher-Price sleeper, was recalled in 2019 after it was linked to at least 10 deaths. Sleepers and rockers are similar products, said Dr. Ben Hoffman, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. They both place the infant on an incline.

Babies under 4 months do not have the strength to roll over on a flat bed, but the shape of these products allows them to do so. This can cause them to suffocate with the material on either side, as they cannot roll their bodies over on their backs. Additionally, the angle of these rockers can obstruct the airways of infants.

A representative for Fisher-Price said in a statement that the safe use of its rockers includes not using them for sleeping, never leaving the child unattended or unrestrained, and not adding sleeping equipment. bedding.

“The product is safe and provides infants and toddlers with a seat to relax and play in – both as a rocking chair and a stationary chair,” the rep said. “However, parents and caregivers should not use these products for sleeping, never leave infants in these products unattended or unrestrained, and never add bedding material, due to the risk of suffocation.”

The commission also included a warning about a Minnie Mouse-themed Kids 2 rocker for infants and toddlers, which the commission said was associated with a death. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

“It’s a tragic reminder of the importance of safe infant sleep,” Dr. Hoffman said.

Car seats, when installed at the proper angle with a harness, allow a baby to fall asleep safely, he said. But the same car seat is not recommended when removed from its base.

“As a parent and pediatrician, I know it’s hard to think about getting a sleeping baby out of a car seat and into an approved sleep space,” he said. “But that’s the recommendation.”

In May, Congress passed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act, which bans the manufacture and sale of reclined sleepers for infants. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States, can be caused by sleeping conditions that are not recommended, such as the use of a reclined rocking chair.

The Infant-to-Toddler Rocker and Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker were not recalled, but Mr. Trumka said the commission will determine whether they fall under the congressional ban. The 2019 recall affected 4.7 million products.

Announcement of the 13 infant deaths, which took place between 2009 and 2021, has been delayed for two months by a restriction that prohibits the commission from disclosing consumer product information without taking certain steps to ensure its accuracy and their fairness. Mr. Trumka called on Congress to repeal this “gag rule.”

“Even with the cooperation of Fisher-Price, we fought an uphill battle to release this information to notify parents and caregivers,” Mr. Trumka said.

Alex D. Hoehn-Saric, chairman of the safety commission, said the organization was continuing to investigate the deaths. A new rule comes into effect on June 23 imposing a requirement that the surfaces of sleep products have an angle of 10 degrees or less.

“Your baby’s sleeping environment should be the safest place in your home, so we want to remind parents and caregivers: the best place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, level surface in a crib. , crib or playground, without blankets, pillows or other items,” he said. “Babies should never be unattended or unrestrained in rockers, gliders, pacifiers or swings.”

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