Fisher-Price recalled all of its 4.7 million Rock ’n Play sleepers Friday, days after a group of pediatricians urged its parent company, Mattel, to stop selling the product amid reports linking it to multiple infant deaths.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said consumers should stop using the sleeper immediately and contact Fisher-Price for a refund or a voucher. Major retailers sell the product for $40 to $149, according to the agency.
The voluntary move by Fisher-Price was a reversal for the company, which issued a joint safety warning with the product safety commission last week after the commission said it was aware of 10 deaths since 2015 of children 3 months or older linked to the sleeper. In most cases, the children suffocated after rolling over in the sleeper from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained.
Mattel said in a statement Friday that it stood by the safety of its products but agreed to the voluntary recall “due to reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions.”
A separate investigation by Consumer Reports connected the cloth-covered cradle to 32 infant deaths from 2011 to 2018, including some involving children younger than 3 months.
On Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics called the sleeper “deadly” and demanded an immediate recall. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., the chairwoman of the House subcommittee focused on consumer protection, added to the outcry Thursday, pushing Mattel to remove the sleeper from stores and websites, saying in a statement that “any delay continues to put more children’s lives at risk.”
The vast majority of recalls are voluntary and can be initiated by the safety commission or by companies themselves.
The commission can also seek a mandatory recall by suing companies, but has done so only six times in the past 19 years, said Joseph Martyak, a spokesman. In the same period, the agency was involved in thousands of voluntary recalls.
Martyak said that the commission, which said in the recall notice that more than 30 fatalities overall had occurred in the sleepers, was examining products that were similar to the Rock ’n Play.
“We’re not stopping there,” he said. “This is a top priority for this agency, and we’re looking at this whole class of incline sleepers very closely.”
An advisory posted on Mattel’s website said people who had owned the Rock ’n Play for less than six months would get a full refund. Those who had owned the sleeper for longer will get a voucher “commensurate with the amount of time” to be redeemed on a new Fisher-Price product.
The company said it would process returns in 12 to 16 weeks.
Jonathan A. Sorkowitz, a lawyer for a family whose 3-month-old daughter died in a Rock ’n Play in September 2018, said his clients were considering legal action, despite the recall.
“Although this is a necessary and important step, it does not provide justice for the many families who have already been harmed by this dangerous product,” he said in an emailed statement.