June 15, 2022 – Heads up, parents: Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said this week that between 2009 and 2022, at least 13 infants died after falling asleep in the company’s rockers.
The deaths were linked to the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and the Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers, according to a Tuesday statement from the CPSC and Fisher-Price.
The CPSC and Fisher-Price reminded parents and caregivers that products, namely “rockers, gliders, soothers, and swings,” should not be used for infant sleep and that parents and caregivers “should not leave infants in these products unsupervised, unrestrained, or with bedding material, due to the risk of suffocation.”
In 2019, the CPSC issued a recall for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper after more than 30 infant fatalities occurred after its 2009 introduction. And last year, a similar recall occurred after four infants, all of whom were under 4 months old, died between April 2019 and February 2020, according to The Associated Press.
The CPSC’s warning on the rockers was delayed because of a 1981 Gag Rule that prevented the agency from issuing a warning when they first became aware of the infant deaths associated with the rockers; the rule blocks the agency from doing so “without first seeking permission from the product’s maker,” CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka said in the statement.
“When CPSC needs to warn the public about a pattern of death and injury tied to a product, it should be able to quickly issue that warning to prevent further loss of life. … Here, the Gag Rule delayed our message to the public by two months.”
A new safety regulation enacted by the CPSC will take effect this month to prevent further harm from infant sleep products. Beginning June 23, 2022, all infant sleep products must have a sleep surface angle of 10 degrees or less, according to the agency. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act signed into law in 2021 follows the CPSC’s industry recommendations, according to NPR.