June 14, 2021 — During shocking testimony to lawmakers, Fisher-Price admitted that 97 babies died in the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.
The testimony from Chuck Scothon, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fisher-Price, was released publicly on June 7 as part of a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing.
Before the hearing, Fisher-Price had only admitted to about 50 deaths in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.
That number of deaths — 97 infants — is also about 7-times higher than what Fisher-Price reported in 2018, when federal safety officials were struggling to get the company to recall it.
Fisher-Price did not agree to recall the Rock n’ Play until April 2019, after the media outlet Consumer Reports published a report about the deaths — in other words, Fisher-Price “got caught red-handed,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi explained during the hearing:
“It wasn’t the warnings from the health experts and the pediatricians in 2005. It wasn’t the Australian government and the Canadian government that rejected your sleeper in 2010 and 2011. It wasn’t the moms who complained about the safety of your sleeper in 2018. It wasn’t even the deaths, the 97 deaths associated with your Rock ’n Play Sleeper. Instead, what it was is Consumer Reports publishing a report about the deaths. You only acted because you got caught red-handed.”
Just before the June 7 hearing, the Committee on Oversight and Reform released a staff report on the results of a 2-year investigation into the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper recall.
What they found was that Fisher-Price neglected to consult with a single licensed pediatrician before releasing the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in October 2009, as the first-ever inclined sleeper “for all-night sleep,” according to the company’s advertisements.
The design of the Rock ‘n Play went completely against expert sleep advice at the time, which was to always put a baby to sleep on their back in a firm and flat sleep space.
Unfortunately, the Rock n’ Play was neither firm nor flat — it had a padded seat and an incline of 30º — and although the product quickly proved to be deadly, Fisher-Price continued to sell it for 10 years.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, blamed the scandal on “corporate greed and weak federal oversight” during the hearing. She also explained just how profitable it was for Fisher-Price to keep selling the Rock ‘n Play:
“From 2009 to 2018 — our documents confirm that Mattel received $200 million from selling this dangerous product. Your company knew about these deaths in 2012, our documents show. … Mattel clearly had a financial incentive to keep this information under wraps.”
Chairwoman Maloney demanded records on every single death in the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, as well as Fisher-Price’s other baby sleepers, rockers, gliders, and other products.
A few days before the hearing, Fisher-Price recalled 175,000 baby gliders with inclined seats after 4 more infants suffocated to death, showing that the company left other products on the market despite having a similarly dangerous design as the recalled Rock ‘n Play.
Do I have a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper induced injury cases in all 50 states. If your child was injured or died in a recalled Rock n’ Play Sleeper, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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