Baby bouncers and sleepers may help fussy infants sleep faster and let moms go hands-free, but it turns out these products may pose a risk to our little ones. In particular, Fisher Price’s Rock ‘N Play Sleeper has been tied to 32 sleep-related infant deaths in the United States, according to a new analysis by Consumer Reports. The American Academy of Pediatricsis also urging the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue an immediate recall for the product.
The AAP release is in response to an earlier joint statement made by Fisher-Price and CPSC on April 5, 2019, where they advise parents to stop using the product once their baby is three months old, or as soon as the infant is able to roll over.
According to CPSC, there have been 10 infant deaths in the sleeper since 2015, which involved babies three months or older rolling over from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained. Because of these tragic accidents, the CSPC advises parents to use restraints when using “inclined sleep products.”
As early as 3 months, babies start to roll over as part of their developmental milestones. But the Consumer Reports article, which was published on April 8, said that the 32 deaths (including the 10 mentioned by CPSC) happened between 2011 to 2018, and included babies even younger than three months. The report listed asphyxia, or the inability to breathe caused by the babies’ position, as one of the common causes of death.
“This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” said Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, 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, and CPSC must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies.”
A number of inclined sleepers and bouncers rock the baby to lull them to sleep and is marketed as a “safe space for naps and nighttime,” according to Consumer Reports. Some also come with restraints to keep your baby in place during movement. In the Philippines, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper is sold in online shopping websites like Lazada and Shopee.
“To [fasten] a baby down to a surface and then rock the baby is not consistent with our recommendations,” said Lori Feldman-Winter, M.D., a member of the AAP task force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in an interview with Consumer Reports.
“We cannot put any more children’s lives at risk by keeping these dangerous products on the shelves,” said Rachel Moon, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP task force on SIDS. “The Rock ‘N Play inclined sleeper should be removed from the market immediately. It does not meet the AAP’s recommendations for a safe sleep environment for any baby. Infants should always sleep on their back, on a separate flat and firm sleep surface without any bumpers or bedding.”
Apart from sleep products that require babies to be restrained during sleep, the AAP also does not recommend using car seats, strollers, or other devices for prolonged or nighttime sleep “because of the risk that a baby could roll over or turn into an unsafe position and be incapable of moving.” This can lead to accidental suffocation or strangulation.
When it comes to safe baby sleep, the AAP reiterates that all infants should be placed to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress. The sleeping space (preferably a crib) must also be kept bare — no pillows, blankets, stuffed toys, bumper cribs, and any other soft items. Read more about safe sleep here.