Infant’s Death While Using Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – Parent Speaks Out

Erika Richter is one of the countless parents grappling with the painful aftermath of her infant’s death while using Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. Now, she’s channeling her grief into action, using her voice to instigate change.

Many years ago, Erika Richter lost her two-week-old daughter Emma when she was in a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. Emma was one of the dozens of infants who died while in the Fisher-Price product. After a decade on the market, the product was recalled in 2019, and problems with it continue.

Authorities Continue to Warn Against The Use Of Rock ‘N Plays

Since the first recall, about 70 additional infant deaths have been documented, bringing the total number of infant deaths attributable to the inclined sleeper to around 100, as announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on January 9, 2023.

The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper has once again been deemed unsafe by federal safety regulators.

“I think about her constantly. I imagine what life would be like if she were still alive.” In 2021, Richter told Good Morning America. She’d be three years old.

Richter started using her voice to promote awareness and prevent another parent from experiencing what she did. In June 2021, she participated in a congressional hearing in response to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform stating that Fisher-Price did not contact any physicians to assure the safety of the Rock ‘n Play. However, despite warnings from foreign regulators, clinicians, and customers that it was unsafe for infants, Fisher-Price continued to sell it as an overnight sleeper.

“Due to lax federal regulation,” the report, which is based on a 20-month investigation, continues, “Fisher-Price was allowed to keep this harmful device on the market for a decade, during which time more than 50 newborns died while using the product, while the corporation earned at least $200 million.” In many instances, young infants suffocated after rolling onto their bellies.

Since 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has suggested that infants sleep on their backs in a crib without bedding to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). With inclined sleepers, such as the 30-degree tilted Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, a baby’s airway can get obstructed if their heads fall forward into the chin-to-chest position or if they roll over. Infants cannot move to a safer position since they are unable to lift their own heads.

According to Consumer Reports, by the end of 2020, just around 8 percent (395,239 out of 4.84 million units) of the recalled sleepers had been accounted for. Fisher-Price alerted the customers via mail and email, but product safety experts assert that the corporation must do more to ensure that all of these products are returned.

Legislation To Protect Consumers and Infants

Richter fought back the tears as she expressed to GMA how different her life may have been if she had known. “When I received the Fisher-Price Rock &’ Play Sleeper, I assumed it was safe because it was a Fisher-Price product. If so many parents are using it and raving about it, then appropriate testing was conducted. It was safe to use,” she explained. “It never occurred to me that the Fisher-Price Rock &’ Play Sleeper was in any way harmful.”

According to GMA, she also wants Congress to abolish Section 6B of the Consumer Product Safety Act, which permits firms to self-regulate product safety.

President Joseph Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Infants Act in May 2022, a law that prohibits the manufacture or sale of padded crib bumper pads and inclined sleep goods, which have been linked to hundreds of infant deaths.

According to Fisher-Price, “The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper was created and developed after significant study, medical consultation, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing.” “In 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggested adopting the ASTM voluntary standard for a 30-degree angled inclined sleeper into federal legislation,” the business stated.

In contrast, the CPSC approved a new federal rule in June 2021 that will go into effect on June 23, 2022, mandating that newborn sleep products “shall be evaluated to demonstrate that the angle of the sleep surface is 10 degrees or less.” Any slope steeper than that is unsafe for newborns.

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