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What Should I Do If My Child Has Been Injured By a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper?

April 10, 2019

As reported deaths linked to Fisher-Price’s Rock ‘n Play Sleeper continue to mount, Fisher-Price has remained steadfast in its refusal to voluntarily recall its popular infant product, ignoring the clear suffocation risk it poses.

In the latest twist regarding the sleeper’s troubled safety record, Consumer Reports posted a story about its investigation linking 32 infant deaths to the sleeper since the product was introduced in 2009 — a more than threefold increase from the 10 deaths reported last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price.

But despite demands by the consumer magazine that the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper be pulled from the market immediately, the CPSC has not ordered a recall. Instead, the CPSC and Fisher-Price have stood by their April 5 joint statement recommending that parents stop using the sleeper when a child reaches age 3 months “or as soon as an infant exhibits rollover capabilities.”

In a subsequent statement made to USA Today, Fisher-Price said that the sleeper meets all applicable safety standards and that it is essential that parents and caregivers always follow product warnings and instructions.

Alan Feldman, a product liability attorney and co-founding partner at Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP, said that “when children’s products are used in an intended and foreseeable way, manufacturers can — and must — be held legally accountable when children are seriously injured or killed.”

“Thirty-two infant deaths is simply unacceptable,” Feldman said.

According to Feldman, “it is critical for manufacturers of children’s products to ensure that their products are safe by conducting a hazard analysis and designing their products so that the most vulnerable segment of society is protected from needless harm. Unfortunately, this is another tragic example of a product manufacturer not living up to its responsibility and then demonstrating reluctance to voluntarily recall its products even after numerous injuries occur.”

In the case of the sleepers, medical experts told Consumer Reports that babies should be placed to sleep “flat on their back alone and free of soft bedding — and not at an incline — to minimize the risk of accidental suffocation.” The Rock ‘n Play Sleeper clearly does not comport with these recommendations.

What Types of Children’s Products Can Cause Accidental Suffocation?

Other children’s products that may cause accidental suffocation if defective include:

  • Baby slings
  • Furniture that tips over or has dangerous cut-outs
  • Cribs
  • Crib bumpers
  • Cradles
  • Bassinettes
  • Mattresses
  • Playpens
  • Strollers
  • Car seats
  • Clothing

Feldman said that “when a child is seriously injured or killed by a defective product, the grieving parents frequently blame themselves and don’t stop to think that the product may be defective and that it is the manufacturer who is at fault. As a result, incidents often go unreported.”

“Even when events are reported, parents are often unaware that other parents have reported similar injuries to the product’s manufacturer and that the manufacturer failed to take appropriate action to warn its customers and to remove the product from store shelves and people’s homes,” Feldman said.

When Should I Contact a Product Liability Attorney If My Child Is Injured?

Feldman recommends contacting a product liability attorney as soon as possible following a child’s injury, as every state has its own strict deadlines as to when a lawsuit must be filed. He said that, “too often, parents — tormented by grief and misplaced self-blame — have contacted me many years after a defective product seriously injures, or even kills, their child, and at that point it is too late to take legal action.”

“Often, the civil justice system provides some comfort to grieving parents as it shines a spotlight on dangerous products and helps ensure that they are removed from the market so that they can no longer threaten other children,” Feldman said.

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