Fisher Price executives ignored safety warnings about the company’s popular Rock ‘n Play inclination sleeper for a decade when it raised $200 million before finally recalling the product after more than 50 babies died in it.
That’s according to a two-year investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which culminated Monday in a hearing in which the company’s senior vice president, Chuck Scothon, said the actual number of deaths related to the sleeper currently stands at 97. .
The commission’s report found that Fisher Price had not properly tested the product before it hit the market in 2009 and then ignored repeated warnings that were dangerous in subsequent years.
By the time it was recalled in 2019, 50 babies had died after being turned over in the sleeper.
One of those dead was Alexander Thompson, who would have turned 10 on Saturday. His mother, Sarah, shared her story in an emotional video message during the hearing.
When he was three months old in 2011, Sarah said she put Alexander in his Rock ‘n Play, helped her oldest daughter with a toy, went to the bathroom and found 10 minutes later that he had stopped responding and was not breathing.
“For almost ten years I’ve had to wonder why he died? How did he die?’ Thompson said, adding that she trusted Fisher Price and parent company Mattel.
“If they had just followed the rules, Alex would still be with us today.
“Unfortunately, our family has changed forever. We miss him every day. We have two younger children who are still asking about their older brother in heaven.’
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Fisher Price executives ignored safety warnings about the popular ‘Rock ‘n Play’ ramp sled (pictured) for a decade as the company raised $200 million before finally recalling the product after more than 50 babies died in it
Sarah Thompson speaks at a House Oversight Committee hearing Monday about the Rock ‘n Play — nearly a decade after her son Alexander died in the sleeper
Thompson shows a photo of her son, Alexander, who died in a Rock ‘n Play when he was three months old
Commission President Rep. Carolyn Maloney said at the hearing: “What we found is absolutely shocking. It’s a national scandal.’
Maloney said at the time of its release that the Sleeper was the first product on the market and branded for sleeping at night, despite evidence that sleeping on a slope can put babies at risk of serious injury or death.
The Rock ‘n Play holds the child on his back at a thirty degree angle so that the child’s feet are at a downward slope from the child’s head.
There was no independent research — or even internal company research — showing that it was safe for babies to sleep tilted, the report said.
“On the contrary, research showed that sleeping at an angle was unsafe.”
Fisher Price became aware of real-life safety concerns as early as 2012, and was warned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in February 2018, but didn’t remember the Rock ‘n Play until April 2019, according to the report.
“It’s shameful that Fisher-Price is endangering lives just to increase profits,” Maloney said in a statement after the hearing.
Commission President Rep. Carolyn Maloney said at the hearing: “What we found is absolutely shocking. It’s a national scandal’
The Rock ‘n Play holds the child on his back at a thirty-degree angle so that the child’s feet are at a downward slope from the child’s head, which studies say is dangerous for infants before it was released in 2009
Between February 2018 and the product’s eventual recall, the Consumer Product Safety Commission hired a medical expert to evaluate the risk of babies rolling over and choking on induced sleep products and found that the Rock ‘n Play was unsafe.
Chuck Scothon, CEO of Fisher-Price, testified that “the number is currently 97 (dead)”
The CPSC’s investigation had to remain silent “because of laws prohibiting the CPSC from disclosing information from manufacturers.
“CPSC could not release information about the deaths or injuries related to Rock ‘n Play or initiate a recall without initiating costly and lengthy lawsuits or administrative proceedings,” the report said.
The CPSC told Consumer Reports about the deaths related to the product in early 2019 and inadvertently released supporting data, but the CPSC or Fisher Price had no intention of recalling the Rock ‘n Play until Consumer Reports said they would review the data. would publish.
The product was off the market within a few days.
“When product reports came in that the product was linked to infant deaths, Fisher Price ignored those reports. It wasn’t until media outlets like Consumer Reports announced the danger of their product that Fisher Price pulled them off the market,” said Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, head of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy.
“Fisher Price and (parent company) Mattel have shown that they cannot control themselves,” Krishnamoorthi said at Monday’s hearing.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, head of the subcommittee on economic and consumer policy, said during Monday’s committee: ‘Fisher Price and (parent company) Mattel have shown that they cannot control themselves’
DailyMail.com reached out to Mattel, the parent company of Fisher Price, for comment.
Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz apologized in a statement to NPR.
“On behalf of myself and everyone at Mattel, I want to express my deep and heartfelt condolences to parents and everyone affected by the heartbreaking tragedies we will discuss today,” said Kreiz, who joined the company in 2018. “I am a father of four, and I can only imagine that there can be no greater loss than that of a child.”
The committee hearing comes just days after Fisher-Price recalled thousands of its baby Glide Soother products after four babies were found dead from suffocation while using the products.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the babies were placed unrestrained on their backs in the 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide pacifiers and were later found on their stomachs.
The suffocation deaths occurred between April 2019 and February 2020, and included a 4-month-old child from Missouri, a 3-month-old child from Nevada, a 2-month-old child from Colorado and an 11-week-old child from Michigan.
Fisher-Price is recalling the 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Pacifier after four babies died of suffocation while using it, and the 2-in-1 Soothe ‘n Play Glider for its resemblance to the 4-in- 1 product