April was a challenging month for two manufacturers of baby sleepers. Kids II and Fisher-Price have issued separate recalls of their sleepers in the wake of reports that infants have been dying while in them.
The Kids II recall involved almost 700 rocking sleepers that were sold between March 2012 and April 2019. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that since the product’s introduction in 2012, there have been five fatalities involving infants who rolled from their backs to their stomachs while unrestrained, or under other circumstances, and stopped breathing.
That recall came on the heels of Fisher-Price’s recall of 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, which contributed to the deaths of at least 32 infants, as an investigation by Consumer Reports revealed. Some of the infants had rolled over while unrestrained, and some were unable to breathe due to their position. Fisher-Price was hesitant to issue the recall until the American Academy of Pediatrics finally pressured the company to do so.
Although Fisher-Price eventually recalled the Rock ‘n Play Sleepers, the company stands by its product’s safety, claiming that it had repeatedly warned customers to stop using the sleeper once an “infant exhibits rollover capabilities.”
Rachel Moon, the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) said the product failed to meet the group’s recommendations for a “safe sleep environment.” She explained, “Infants should always sleep on their back, on a separate, flat and firm sleep surface without any bumpers or bedding.”
The AAP does not recommend any sleeping products for infants or any products that require restraining a baby. It also advises against using car seats, strollers, or other devices for sleeping due to the risk of rollover leading to possible suffocation.
Soon after the recalls, two class action lawsuits were filed against Fisher-Price and its parent company, Mattel, which are threatening to hold the companies responsible for the deaths caused by its rocking sleepers.
The first of the two lawsuits, filed by Delaware couple Samantha Drover-Mundy and Zachary Mundy, would potentially include claimants nationwide, while the second, presented by Cassandra Mulvey of New York, would consist of those solely within the state. The Drover-Mundy suit is hoping to create a class for infants who were injured by the sleepers, and a second class for the consumers who purchased the product. According to Mundy, the recall didn’t come soon enough to save their 12-week-old daughter, who passed away after being placed in a Rock n’ Play Sleeper last September. Likewise, Mulvey received the item as a gift in 2016 to “use as a sleeper for overnight or prolonged sleep for her infant.”