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Recall: Fisher-Price Recalls Rock ‘n Play Sleepers Due to Reports of Deaths

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From CPSC https://cpsc.gov/Recalls/2019/fisher-price-recalls-rock-n-play-sleepers-due-to-reports-of-deaths

“Name of product:

All Models of Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

Hazard:

Infant fatalities have occurred in Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances.

Remedy:

Recall date:

April 12, 2019

Units: 

About 4.7 million products

Recall Details

Description:

This recall involves all Rock ‘n Play Sleepers.

Remedy: 

Consumers should immediately stop using the product and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or voucher.

Incidents/Injuries: 

Since the 2009 product introduction, over 30 infant fatalities have occurred in Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, after the infants rolled over while unrestrained, or under other circumstances.”

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Dd8 slept in one of these for over a year.  It was perfect for us.  I have RA and it was so easy to put her in and take her out.  She was tiny and didn't outgrow it for a very long time.

There was a recall several years ago because of mold issues with some of the early models.  I remembered then that we had to rush dd8 to the ER with breathing difficulties.  We didn't know until later that the breathing difficulties were possibly caused by the rock 'n play.  She continued sleeping in it for a while after that and never had an issue.

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Not to sound insensitive, but 4.7 million units used over a period of 10 years - it would be a statistical anomaly if no fatalities had occurred in them.  Babies die in cribs, in bassinets, in adult beds, in car seats, in bouncy seats, in co-sleepers, and in Rock and Plays.  Many of those tragedies happen even under ideal circumstances, and when you start to factor in "improper" use (crib bumpers, squishy mattresses, stuffed animals, heavy bedding, or not using restraints properly), the incidences unfortunately become more common.

I am very glad I no longer have a baby, and therefore am not faced with this decision.  But I suspect that if I did have a baby who preferred to sleep in a Rock and Play (as 3 of my babies did), that I would continue to allow them to sleep in it properly restrained and obviously minimizing all other risk factors.

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I have used one of these for two kiddos. Um, don't put a baby in it that can roll over? Or if you do, strap it down.

I hate that products are recalled because people don't use them properly. This is like the Bumbo chair thing where people were putting their babies in them and then setting them on counters and then blamed the seat when their babies got hurt.

I'm not saying tragic accidents don't happen, but every single thing can't be the fault of whatever device. And I know there ARE terrible designs that do need to be recalled.

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12 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Not to sound insensitive, but 4.7 million units used over a period of 10 years - it would be a statistical anomaly if no fatalities had occurred in them.  Babies die in cribs, in bassinets, in adult beds, in car seats, in bouncy seats, in co-sleepers, and in Rock and Plays.  Many of those tragedies happen even under ideal circumstances, and when you start to factor in "improper" use (crib bumpers, squishy mattresses, stuffed animals, heavy bedding, or not using restraints properly), the incidences unfortunately become more common.

I am very glad I no longer have a baby, and therefore am not faced with this decision.  But I suspect that if I did have a baby who preferred to sleep in a Rock and Play (as 3 of my babies did), that I would continue to allow them to sleep in it properly restrained and obviously minimizing all other risk factors.

30 deaths is a lot, but over 10 years and millions of uses for countless hours this does seem very tiny. I don’t want to debate vaccine or other products, but what are the statistics for injury/death there and they are not recalled.

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Many of the babies who died were under three months old and died of positional asphyxiation because the device is inclined. It isn't that the babies just happened to die while in the rock and play, but that it actually killed them. 

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2 minutes ago, Mergath said:

Many of the babies who died were under three months old and died of positional asphyxiation because the device is inclined. It isn't that the babies just happened to die while in the rock and play, but that it actually killed them. 

 

That a great distinction, but aren’t lots of baby chairs, swings, etc. inclined? I have a 6 week old baby so I’m quite interested to understand why this one is so much more dangerous than other products.

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Just now, arliemaria said:

 

That a great distinction, but aren’t lots of baby chairs, swings, etc. inclined? I have a 6 week old baby so I’m quite interested to understand why this one is so much more dangerous than other products.

 

Part of the reason is that this was marketed as a sleeper, whereas those other items usually aren't, and so parents left babies alone in the rock and play for longer periods of time sleeping and unsupervised. But it isn't safe for a baby to sleep on any inclined surface. Flat surfaces only for sleep. A baby can die from positional asphyxiation very quickly.

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1 hour ago, Mergath said:

 

Part of the reason is that this was marketed as a sleeper, whereas those other items usually aren't, and so parents left babies alone in the rock and play for longer periods of time sleeping and unsupervised. But it isn't safe for a baby to sleep on any inclined surface. Flat surfaces only for sleep. A baby can die from positional asphyxiation very quickly.

Realistically babies are going to sleep in swings, carseats, boppies, etc. Probably sometimes for hours if that's the only place they will sleep. So we don't call those "sleepers" and voila, the company isn't responsible but Fisher Price is?

I have not had one baby that would sleep flat on their back for any length of time, as it happens. I mean, it's great for babies that read all the safety recommendations 🙂, but I'm not going to say a company is at fault because they sleep in this thing the same thay they do in their carseat.

ETA: also interested in a link to the info about the deaths that didn't involve improper use. I still have a RNP, but debating using it for the next kid. I've used a Snuza with all my kids when they sleep anywhere; it's never alarmed in the RNP.

Edited by EmseB

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7 minutes ago, EmseB said:

Realistically babies are going to sleep in swings, carseats, boppies, etc. Probably sometimes for hours if that's the only place they will sleep. So we don't call those "sleepers" and voila, the company isn't responsible but Fisher Price is?

I have not had one baby that would sleep flat on their back for any length of time, as it happens. I mean, it's great for babies that read all the safety recommendations 🙂, but I'm not going to say a company is at fault because they sleep in this thing the same thay they do in their carseat.

 

FP knew it wasn't safe for babies to sleep in them, though, because they never used to market them as sleepers in the US, and from what I read they still don't in Canada. They used to say NOT to allow babies to sleep in them. 

And parents used to think all kinds of things weren't realistic. Thirty years ago, people would have thought it was ridiculous to have a three-year-old rear-facing. Now it's common because it's safer. Some pediatricians are advocating for getting rid of all the rockers and such that encourage babies to sleep on an incline. So who knows, in ten years they might all be gone because they aren't safe.

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That's part of the reason this liability thing is so silly, imo. We really think those Canadian babies didn't fall asleep in those things because FP told the Canadian parents not to let them sleep in them? Or that FP knew it wasn't safe because how Canada told them they could sell it? Because the marketing was different? That moms and dads are seriously waking sleeping infants to move them from their swings, boppies, carseats, strollers, cradles? If I had done that I would have been a neurotic, sleep-deprived mess. I know no parent who functions that way. 

I don't know how you get rid of inclined car seats, tbh. But if they did, some kids don't sleep on a flat crib matress. They won't. It's cold and uncomfortable. So we get rid of swings and sleepers and bouncy seats...and parents prop their kids on a pillow with no straps, or co sleep...or whatever. At least then there won't be a company to blame I guess, just some tired, stressed out mom doing her best.

I'm strict with carseats, more than anyone I know IRL. I'm not a luddite when it comes to keeping kids safe. I support recalls when products are defective. This isn't about 30 years ago and riding with babies in front seats. You're not going to prevent people from inclining babies to get them comfortable even if you could eliminate every product on the market. Reflux is pretty common, for one (some peds recommend an incline for this!!), and otherwise my experience with infants is that they like feeling snuggled or cradled when sleeping. That is a hard nut to crack when you're living on no sleep and people are tsk tsking you for not doing The Safest Thing. Sometimes safe is more practical than safest. I would bet driving the kid to the doctor on the highway is less safe than a RNP, to be honest.

A flat crib mattress may be safest, but I don't know that no children have never died sleeping on one. And I do feel for the parents who tragically lost their sweet babies in a RNP. I don't think it's trivial. I also don't think you're going to get rid of the idea or function of kids sleeping cradled and/or inclined. And I think it's silly to blame a company for a *cradle* of all things. Because that's all it really is.

Edited by EmseB
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6 hours ago, EmseB said:

I have used one of these for two kiddos. Um, don't put a baby in it that can roll over? Or if you do, strap it down.

I hate that products are recalled because people don't use them properly. This is like the Bumbo chair thing where people were putting their babies in them and then setting them on counters and then blamed the seat when their babies got hurt.

I'm not saying tragic accidents don't happen, but every single thing can't be the fault of whatever device. And I know there ARE terrible designs that do need to be recalled.

I’ve always had similar feelings about these things. But then I watch as people STILL put Bumbos on counters and all the other big  no-nos, and start to feel like we, as a group, actually do need some sort of “parentsitting”.

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I think there is a difference in a parent knowing about positional asphyxiation and letting their infant sleep in the carseat anyway, and a company marketing a product specifically for sleeping, without warning of the asphyxiation risk. 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

I think there is a difference in a parent knowing about positional asphyxiation and letting their infant sleep in the carseat anyway, and a company marketing a product specifically for sleeping, without warning of the asphyxiation risk. 

Yes.  It's not just that I let dd8 fall asleep in the rocker, but that it was specifically used as her bed.

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I think there is a difference in a parent knowing about positional asphyxiation and letting their infant sleep in the carseat anyway, and a company marketing a product specifically for sleeping, without warning of the asphyxiation risk. 

I get that they were sold as sleepers. They were also called Rock and Play, which always seemed really dumb to me because they were for infants and the whole deal is that you're trying to get them to sleep. Or that they sleep and don't exactly play as newborns. I also can't believe that in places where FP didn't call them sleepers that parents were keeping their kids from falling asleep in them. But do parents who let their kids sleep in car seats really know about positional asphyxiation and make calculated risk/benefit analyses about it all? My experience with people says no, but I've seen more than one infant bucket strapped into a car forward facing, so maybe my perspective is cynical.

I also have a hard time, looking at the numbers, thinking that the risk was any bigger/higher than a baby sleeping in a car seat, which is hardly preventable while traveling, sometimes with the kid out of your sight for a couple of hours because you're driving and they are backwards. But people don't wake their newborns up to prevent sleeping in the seat.

I can't even find the cases of death that Mergath mentioned that weren't due to improper use. When I google I get the text of the recall or non-specific news articles. There are tons of products out there that are safe for newborns that can't roll over that become dangerous without restraints if the baby can roll over our is more mobile.

Edited by EmseB

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