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Parents of newborns only get an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes of sleep per night. So it’s no wonder that when “miracle” sleeping solutions like the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play crop up on the market, bleary-eyed parents eagerly purchase the product without much question.
Tragically, these inclined sleeper beds have been linked to a number of infant deaths. According to Consumer Reports, at least 50 infant deaths have been linked to this popular newborn sleeper.
A recall was put into place earlier this year, with hundreds of thousands of Kids II Rocking Sleepers and Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers being taken off the shelves. But consumer experts warn that similar products are still being made and purchased every day.
“This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” said the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Kyle Yasuda, in May when speaking of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. “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 [U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission] must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies.”
Unfortunately, these recalls are just the tip of the iceberg, as several nearly-identical sleepers are still available for parents to purchase. For example, these Fisher Price soothing seats (like the Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer or Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer: See & Soothe, seen below) could pose similar sleep risks, although they’re not marketed as a bed and parents are urged not to let their children sleep in these chairs.
Still, ask any new, exhausted parent: If your baby is snug and snoozing in one of these bouncers after hours of a restless night, it’s very tempting to simply let them keep sleeping rather than pull them out of the chair.
Why are these beds so dangerous? Not only do they pose a tipping risk, but they also compress a newborn baby’s tiny airway.
“Infant inclined sleepers are designed to have babies sleep at an incline between 10 degrees and 30 degrees,” explains Consumer Reports. “All such products increase the likelihood of airway compression and suffocation, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.”
For similar reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics tells parents that infants should not sleep in strollers or car seats, or on any other surface other than a flat, firm bed (without bedding, of course, including pillows, blankets, or stuffies).
Congress is currently considering banning these infant inclined sleepers. Representatives from California and Connecticut have introduced legislation that would ban the manufacture, import or sale of such incline sleepers for infants.
For a full list of baby products that are similar to these inclined sleeper beds, visit Consumer Reports.