Story at a glance:
- Fisher-Price knew the Rock ‘n Play was linked to infant deaths but didn’t recall the product until 2019, a Congressional report alleges.
- The parent company, Mattel, made at least $200 million off the product since 2009.
- The sleep rocker was inadequately tested, the report alleges.
Popular toy and infant product manufacturer Fisher-Price ignored a fatal flaw in one of its hottest products, the Rock ‘n Play sleep cradle, for a decade, a new Congressional report alleges.
The deaths of more than 50 infants are reportedly involved, according to NewsJax, an independent TV news channel licensed to Jacksonville, Florida, as the company knew the dangers of its product and continued to sell it anyway.
In a two-year investigation that produced a 38-page report, House members of the Oversight and Reform committee questioned Fisher Price and its owners Mattel, The New York Post reports.
“Today’s staff report is damning. The committee’s investigation shows how corporate greed and weak federal oversight led to the deaths of dozens of babies in an unsafe product,” committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Ny) said.
The product was recalled in April 2019, The New York Post reported, but the product already made at least $200 million in sales during the 10 years.
It was reported that 4.7 million Rock ‘n Plays were sold.
More than 50 infants died using the product before it was recalled, and following the recall, an investigation took place.
The sleep rocker was first introduced on the marketplace in 2009, but Mattel learned there was a correlation between its Rock ‘n Play and its victims since 2012, NewsJax reported. It was only until parents became more vocal that the product was pulled two years ago.
“It is shameful that Fisher-Price endangered lives simply to help its bottom line. The findings of the Committee’s investigation make clear that we must strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Act to put American consumers over corporate profits. I am committed to doing just that,” Maloney added.
Consumer Reports President Marta Tellado said the recall was “long overdue.”
“Fisher-Price and the CPSC [Consumer Product Safety Commission] knew about deaths linked to this product for years and could have taken steps to avoid this unnecessary tragedy,” Tellado said at the time.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have the authority to mandate a product’s recall, even if the product is causing infants to die.
“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 we will discuss today,” Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told lawmakers. “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.”
A representative for Mattel told the Post the product “was designed and developed following extensive research, medical advice, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing and review.”
Yet the Congressional report accused the company of not performing adequate testing. The company relied too much on evidence from car seats and other inclined devices and only consulted one doctor, the report said.
“Inclined products, such as gliders, soothers, rockers and swings are not safe for infant sleep, due to the risk of suffocation,” CPSC acting chairman Robert Adler said in a statement.
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