Fisher-Price had a new idea for a reclining baby sleeper – but 30 babies have since died in the cradle, which received insufficient testing, a new report claims.
The Rock & # 39; n Play Sleeper was recalled in April after the murder or reports of infant mortality, but recall campaigns are often minimally effective, so many of the products can still be in people's homes.
It turned out not only to be unsafe, but also one Washington Post Research has shown that Fisher-Price has never tested the safety of the sleeper before millions of products have been put on the market.
The Rock & # 39; n Play Sleeper was at the center of the class action lawsuits and on the & # 39; s pages of court documents, The Washington Post found evidence that the product did not receive a clinical evaluation until eight years after its introduction in 2009 .
And the invention preceded changes in security codes that had made it compulsory to be flat, not in the once unique but ultimately fatal corner of the sleeper.
The popular Fisher-Price Rock & Play 39 is linked to the death of 30 babies and a Washington Post report claims it has not been tested by the right doctors and has been spotted in the outdated safety regulations
Safety standards for consumer products are there to protect vulnerable people from taking home things that could fail or worse could cause damage.
And no consumer is more vulnerable than a baby.
Yet an immensely popular product designed for infants not only slipped through the cracks, but also flew off the shelves.
Fisher-Price, the almost monolithic product arm of toy giant Mattel, sold 4.7 million Rock & Play sleepers.
An engineer came up with the idea of a reclining sleeper, something that no other company made, and it sailed into production in 2009.
Every other baby sleeper was flat.
And that's the way they should be, according to the March or Dimes safe recommendations for sleep.
To sleep safely and minimize the risk of dreaded cot death (SIDS) or suffocation, babies should be placed flat on their backs on a firm, flat surface, usually in a crib with side walls or a cradle with railing.
But according to Fisher-Price engineers, the corner of their sleeping place believed that babies would fall asleep more easily and stay asleep.
It was a revelation, it was a hit and then it was deadly.
An article in Consumer Reports earlier this year called on the sleepers, allowing babies to roll into their sleep, sometimes with fatal consequences, and canceling that they had to be recalled.
The products were recalled on 12 April – a full decade after they were first introduced to the market.
At least two class action lawsuits have been brought against Mattel, owner of Fisher-Price, about child injuries and deaths related to the sleeper.
The records reveal the slender test that Fisher-Price – who was unable to comment on the record at the time of publication – performed on the Rock & Play.
Only a year before the product entered the shelves and e-commerce stores, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was approved, creating stricter testing laws for baby and toddler products.
Since 2013, that code requires rocker swings to have a slope of 10 degrees or less – one third of the angle that the Rock & # 39; n Play has.
In 2009 there was no corner in the security code, probably because angled sleepers did not exist before the Rock & # 39; n Play was invented.
Despite misunderstandings to the contrary, the Consumer Product Safety Commission does not test every product before it is launched.
However, Fisher-Price does not have a medical expert evaluating his product, and the design contravenes the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe sleep.
According to the Washington Post review of court documents, the industrial designer who came up with the idea of the Rock & Play Sleeper, Linda Chapman, said she had initially worked on the advice her pediatrician had given her about her son years ago when he was a child suffering from reflux.
In a statement, she said her doctor had suggested placing a pillow under the baby's head to help with his reflux.
During product testing in 2009, Fisher-Price worked with a doctor, Dr. Gary Deegear, but not a pediatrician.
During the lawsuit, the company continued to cite information about babies with stomach problems, including guidelines quoted by a North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition newsletter, the Post reported.
And even if we assume that the sleeper has been tested according to federal standards, it would not have been important. Nothing in the code of that time mentioned the need for flat sleeping surfaces.
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