Fisher Price recalls popular sleep aid sold to 4.7m families after 'eight more deaths'

The toy company has re-announced a recall of its Rock 'n Play sleepers telling parents to stop using the product.

Fisher Price logo on a phone screen as drop in with baby sleeping
(Image credit: Getty / Getty)

Fisher Price has re-issued a recall on 4.7million of it's Rock 'n Play sleepers after eight reported deaths following the first recall.

The toy maker first issued a product recall back in April 2019 after its 2009 release Rock 'n Play sleeper was reported unsafe with approximately 4.7 million units affected by the recall.

But since then the US organisation CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commissioner] claims the sleeper is linked to more than 100 fatalities - 70 of which were reported since its first recall.

In response to this allegation, in both of it's recall announcements - the first back in 2019 and the second earlier this week - Fisher Price states, "Fisher-Price notes that in some of the reports, it has been unable to confirm the circumstances of the incidents or that the product was a Rock 'n Play Sleeper."

It's not the first baby-related product to be recalled, last year baby formula was recalled after sepsis and meningitis fears. Meanwhile Tesco, Morrisons and Iceland recall popular food items over safety fears.

A government investigation reported back in 2021 found that following a two-year investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, carried out in the US, found Fisher Price executives "ignored studies saying the product was unsafe" and claimed it "didn't properly test the product" before its 2009 release and it is claimed it later "ignored repeated warnings". reports Fisher Price were not planning to recall the Rock 'n Play until Consumer Reports said they were going to publish the data and "within days, the product was taken off the market."

For anyone unfamiliar with the features of the Rock 'n Play - it holds the infant on its back at a thirty-degree angle, such that the infant's feet are at a downward slope from the infant's head. 

A report by US organisation the Consumer Product Safety Commission claims there was "no independent research - or even internal company research - showing that it was safe for babies to sleep at an angle".

"On the contrary, research showed that sleeping on an angle was unsafe," the Commission added.

The newspaper also reports that between February 2018 and the product's 2019 recall, the CPSC hired a medical expert to "evaluate the risk of infants rolling over and suffocating in induced sleep products" and found the Rock 'n Play was "unsafe".

During the investigation laws prevented the CPSC from disclosing information provided by manufacturers, so it stopped them from publicising the deaths or injuries associated with Rock 'n Play or set up a product recall "without engaging in a costly and drawn out litigation administrative proceedings," according to the report.

Consumer Reports were notified in early 2019 by the CPSC about the deaths associated with the product and inadvertently released supporting data and the product was taken off the market.

Meanwhile, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, head of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee, based in the US, claimed, 'When product reports came in saying the product was linked to babies' deaths, Fisher Price ignored those reports. Only when media outlets like Consumer Reports publicised the danger of their product did Fisher Price take them off the market.

"Fisher Price and (parent company) Mattel have showed that they cannot police themselves,' Krishnamoorthi added during the 2021 hearing. 

Ynon Kreiz, Mattel's CEO, who joined the company in 2018, apologised for everything that happened during his hearing testimony in 2021. At the time he said, "On behalf of myself and everyone at Mattel, I want to convey my deep and sincere condolences to parents and anyone affected by the heartbreaking tragedies.

"I am a father of four children, and I can only imagine that there cannot be a more terrible loss than that of a child," he added.

A Fisher Price spokesperson emailed a statement to which reads, "There is nothing more important to Fisher-Price than the safety of our products and the trust consumers place in us. Our hearts go out to every family who has suffered a loss.

"The Rock 'n Play Sleeper was designed and developed following extensive research, medical advice, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing and review. It met or exceeded all applicable regulatory standards. 

"As recently as 2017, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed to adopt the ASTM voluntary standard for a 30-degree angled inclined sleeper as federal law."

It continued, "After the product launched, different independent medical and other expert analyses verified that it was safe when used in accordance with its instructions and warnings. Two studies confirmed that the Rock 'n Play Sleeper was as safe or safer than other sleep environments such as cribs and bassinets, and one of the studies found that the product had far fewer incidents than the SUID rates in cribs, bassinets, and playpens. In addition, we reported significant incidents to the CPSC beyond the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

"Though the facts show the Rock 'n Play Sleeper was safe when used in accordance with its instructions and warnings, we voluntarily recalled it in 2019 and have continued to work diligently to remove all recalled product from the market. We reaffirm our commitment to parents that we will always put their children's safety first."

Meanwhile, Mattel, which has issued the recall states on its website, "Infant fatalities have occurred in Rock 'n Play Sleepers, after the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances.

"If you own a Rock 'n Play Sleeper, discontinue use of the item immediately.

"We will be sending you a prepaid shipping label and detailed instructions on how to disassemble your Rock 'n Play Sleeper and return the two hubs. Keep the remainder of your product, a copy of the receipt (if you have it), and the shipping receipt until you receive your recall resolution."

Baby sleeping stock image

(Image credit: Getty)

Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement, "We are issuing this announcement because, despite their removal from the marketplace and a prohibition on their sale, babies continue to die in these products." And he warned families who still have the sleepers to stop using them immediately before adding, "We now know of approximately 100 infant deaths in the Rock n' Play, including eight that happened after the recall was announced."

But Fisher-Price notes that in some cases it has been unable to confirm the circumstances of the incidents or if the product was a Rock 'n Play Sleeper. 

Mattel advised consumers, "Your recall resolution will be based on the following:

Once you have shipped both product hubs to us, we ask that you please allow 12 to 16 weeks for processing. At that time, you will be notified of your recall resolution.

For more details visit Mattel or Fisher Price online.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)