The Australian consumer watchdog has warned parents to keep a Fisher-Price sleeper "out of reach of children" following reports it has been linked with at least 10 infant deaths in the United States since 2015. The AAP says the design causes asphyxia, or the lack of ability to breathe, based on the baby's position in the sleeper.
On April 5, Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission jointly issued a warning about the product recommending that consumers stop using it by the time their babies are three months of age or when infants begin to be capable of rolling over.
On its website, Fisher-Price said the company "will continue to work closely with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and other global regulators, to encourage the safe use of our products and find ways to keep your little ones happy, healthy and above all - safe".
"We can not put any more children's lives at risk by keeping these risky products on the shelves", Dr Rachel Moon, a doctor with the AAP said in the statement.
A spokesperson for the ACCC told The Sydney Morning Herald that the sleeper was being investigated "as a matter of priority", and that the ACCC wasn't aware of any deaths or injuries from the Rock 'n Play sleeper in Australia.
"With this product being out on the market being marketed as a sleeper, parents are confused", she said. Tragically, that is not the case.
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According to the report, some of those babies were younger than the 3-month cutoff called for in the CPSC and Fisher-Price warning ― a discrepancy the AAP called "alarming".
"We can not put any more children's lives at risk by keeping these unsafe products on the shelves", said Dr. Rachel Moon, chair of the AAP Task Force on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
A different Rock 'n Play model was recalled in 2013 due to the risk of mold developing between the seat cushion and the hard plastic frame. "CPSC has requirements it must follow for any decisions concerning recalls". "The Rock 'n Play inclined sleeper should be removed from the market immediately". The CPS recommends against sleeping babies on an incline during the first year of their life, warning parents to "use a firm, flat surface for sleep".
The sleeper conflicts with the AAP's recommendations for safe sleep environments for babies in order to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The federal agency, tasked with regulating consumer products, has "identified a hazard with rollover issues", in which babies move onto their stomachs or sides and can't return to their back. That includes strollers, auto seats or any product that would allow a baby to turn into an unsafe sleeping position and suffocate. Combine that with the risk of suffocation, and Hoffman says the Fisher-Price cot "is just not a safe sleep environment".