Pediatricians demand recall of Fisher-Price sleeper after warning about infant deaths

(CNN) - Following a warning issued by Fisher-Price, the American Academy of Pediatrics is demanding an immediate recall of the company’s Rock ‘n Play sleeper, citing an analysis that links it to 32 infant deaths.

The pediatricians’ group urged stores Tuesday to remove the popular sleeper from their shelves, saying a previous warning about the product “did not go far enough to ensure safety and protect infants.”

"This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately," said Dr. Kyle Yasuda, president of the AAP. "When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it's being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case. There is convincing evidence that the Rock 'n Play inclined sleeper puts infants' lives at risk.”

Parents Keenan and Evan Overton are among those speaking out after their son, Ezra, died in a Rock ‘n Play sleeper, just three days before Christmas in 2017. (Source: J. Keenan and Evan Overton/CNN)
Parents Keenan and Evan Overton are among those speaking out after their son, Ezra, died in a Rock ‘n Play sleeper, just three days before Christmas in 2017. (Source: J. Keenan and Evan Overton/CNN) (Source: J. Keenan and Evan Overton/CNN)

Parents Keenan and Evan Overton are among those speaking out after their son, Ezra, died in a Rock ‘n Play sleeper, just three days before Christmas in 2017.

"I looked up, and I found him in a standing position but face down in the chair. His face was on the back of the seat, and he was already passed away,” Keenan Overton said.

The parents say they are in talks with Fisher-Price and Mattel about the incident, and they hope to inform others “so that it won’t happen to somebody else.”

Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned customers Friday to stop using the Rock ‘n Play sleeper once their children could roll over, typically around age 3 months.

The warning cited reports of 10 infant deaths – all 3 months or older – since 2015. However, the AAP cites a Consumer Reports analysis published April 8 that links the sleeper to at least 32 infant deaths from 2011 to 2018. Some of those infants were younger than 3 months.

Fisher-Price told Consumer Reports that the company believes none of the deaths have been caused by the product itself but instead by incorrect usage of the product and/or the children’s previous medical conditions.

Fisher-Price urges parents to make sure they follow all Rock 'N Play warnings and instructions, saying it’s important to use the product’s three-point harness restraint. (Source: CPSC/Fisher-Price/CNN)
Fisher-Price urges parents to make sure they follow all Rock 'N Play warnings and instructions, saying it’s important to use the product’s three-point harness restraint. (Source: CPSC/Fisher-Price/CNN) (Source: CPSC/Fisher-Price/CNN)

Chuck Scothon, general manager at Fisher-Price, says the company stands by the safety of the sleeper and that it meets all “applicable safety standards.”

"Safety of children is our highest priority. The loss of a child is tragic and heart-breaking,” said Scothon in a statement.

The company urges parents to make sure they follow all product warnings and instructions, saying it’s important to use the product’s three-point harness restraint. It also says no blankets or pillows should be used in the Rock ‘n Play.

In its report, the CPSC says the infants that died were unrestrained and rolled from their back to their stomach or side. The latest death was reported in March.

The AAP says it does not recommend an inclined sleep position or products that require restraining a baby, including the Rock ‘n Play sleeper. It also advises against using car seats, strollers or other devices for sleep because babies could roll or turn into an unsafe position and suffer suffocation or strangulation if unable to move.

A spokeswoman with the CPSC says the commission is aware of the report of additional fatalities.

“We are investigating other deaths that have occurred in the Rock 'n Play,” she said in a statement. “CPSC has requirements it must follow for any decisions concerning recalls. If the evidence shows the need for a recall, we will take that step. We continue to work on this very important safety issue.”

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