One of the most popularly recommend products on the baby market, the Fisher-Price Rock ’N Play Sleeper, was recalled this week after more than 30 infant fatalities have been reported. The recall affects over 4.7 million products in circulation, since the original introduction to the market in 2009. It is imperative that parents stop using the Rock ’N Play Sleeper immediately to prevent more infant deaths.
Right on the front of the Rock ’N Play Sleeper it states that it is an “inclined sleeper designed for all night sleep” even though it readily goes against all safe sleep recommendations. Many parents claim that regardless of the recall they will continue to use this product because it is a “lifesaver”. However, that does not negate the fact that it is incredibly dangerous.
One of the largest concerns when using this product is Positional Asphyxia. Positional Asphyxia occurs when an infant’s airway becomes blocked, leading to suffocation and death. Many parents are unaware that this can happen in under 60 seconds and shows no warning signs of danger, until it is too late. Even if you are actively watching your child, your baby can still succumb to Positional Asphyxia. This is not only a concern when using a Rock ’N Play, but for numerous other baby products when used for sleep, such as the Doc-a-tot, bouncers, swings, strollers, and car seats. Even when using these items as instructed, Positional Asphyxia can still occur if used for sleep. If your child falls asleep in any of these devices, then immediately move your child to safe sleep space.
The CPSC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and ASTM International have put into place extremely specific and rigorous testing for safe sleep. All items with the manufacturer label “crib”, “bassinet” or “play yard” are approved as a safe space for your child to sleep and pass all ASTM and CPSC standards. Unfortunately, many companies use deceiving labels such as nappers, sleepers, or co-sleeper. Nevertheless, these products are readily available in stores despite not passing safe sleep requirements. It is highly advised to not use any of these apparatuses for sleep.
Guidelines for a safe infant sleeping environment are produced and routinely updated through the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics. One of the guidelines specifically states, "Avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations.” The primary guidelines for safe sleep include placing your child on their back for every sleep including naps and at night, using a firm sleep surface with a safety-approved mattress and crib (bassinet or play yard), and keeping all objects and loose bedding away from the infant’s sleep area. The AAP also offers numerous other recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths. Every year there is an average of 3,500 sleep-related infant deaths according to the CDC.
Always remember, if an item is recalled, quit use immediately. If you are ever in doubt, follow the AAP safe sleep guidelines by placing your child alone, on their back, in their crib. Your child’s life is at risk; please do not let your child become a statistic. Every parent needs to be aware of the deadly risks and make an informed choice when choosing a safe sleeping environment.