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2 Deaths Spur Simplicity Bassinet Alert

Government Urges Consumers to Stop Using Certain Convertible Simplicity Bassinets After 2 Infant Deaths
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 29, 2008 -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers to stop using certain 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible "close-sleeper/bedside sleeper" bassinets, made by Simplicity Inc. of Reading, Pa., after two babies became entrapped in the bassinet's metal bars and died of strangulation.

A 5-month-old girl from Shawnee, Kan. was strangled to death when she became entrapped between the metal bassinet's bars on Aug. 21, and on Sept. 29, 2007, a 4-month-old girl from Noel, Mo., became entrapped in the metal bars of the bassinet and died, according to the CPSC.

The bassinets aren't being recalled. In a news release, the CPSC says it's issuing a safety alert about the bassinets "because SFCA Inc., the company which bought all of Simplicity Inc.'s assets at a public auction in April 2008, has refused to cooperate with the government and recall the products. SFCA maintains that it is not responsible for products previously manufactured by Simplicity."

The Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spaced farther apart than 2 3/8 inches, which is the maximum distance allowed under the federal crib safety standard. The metal bars are covered by an adjustable fabric flap which is attached by Velcro. The fabric is folded down when the bassinet is converted into a bedside co-sleeping position. If the Velcro is not properly resecured when the flap is adjusted, an infant can slip through the opening and become entrapped in the metal bars and suffocate, the CPSC notes.

Because of the serious hazard these bassinets pose to babies, the CPSC urges all consumers to share this safety warning with day care centers, consignment stores, family, and friends to ensure that no child is placed to sleep in a Simplicity convertible bassinet covered by this warning.

The CPSC's warning doesn't cover bassinets produced in recent months that have fabric permanently attached over the lower bar.

Company Responds

SFCA, Inc. -- based in Reading, Pa. -- is part of Blackstreet Capital Management. The PBN Company -- a Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm -- emailed WebMD a statement on behalf of SFCA about the bassinets.

The statement advises consumers with questions about the CPSC product alert to call the CPSC at 800-638-2772.

The SFCA's statement notes that "the CPSC product alert does not involve any product manufactured and distributed by SFCA, Inc.," with "does not" written in bold print and underlined.

The bassinets mentioned in the alert were made and distributed by Simplicity, Inc., not SFCA. All bassinets produced and sold by SFCA have fabric that permanently attaches over the lower bar and "are safe and can continue to be used," states the SFCA, adding that it has "no legal liability for any products distributed previously by Simplicity."

The SFCA says it's "disappointed" that the CPSC "mischaracterized SFCA's cooperation with CPSC" and pledges to "continue to cooperate with the CPSC."

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