Recalled Fisher-Price baby sleeper developed without medical safety tests: report

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A Fisher-Price sleeper for infants that was recalled last month after being tied to dozens of infant deaths was reportedly developed without consultation from pediatricians, according to a report in The Washington Post.

The newspaper reports that the now-recalled Fisher-Price Rock ‘N’ Play Sleeper, which has been linked to more than 30 infant deaths, hit shelves despite the company consulting just one doctor, a family physician who has since lost his medical license, on the product’s design.

{mosads}No pediatricians were reportedly involved in the company’s work on the product until years after it went to market and became involved in a product liability lawsuit, on which the pediatrician served as a defense witness.

In addition, the sleeper’s new design, which was the first to allow infants to sleep in a reclined, 30 degree angle while sleeping, was not tested in clinical research trials before the product became available and was reportedly based on faulty beliefs about infant sleep habits.

Mattel, which owns Fisher-Price, did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on why pediatricians were not involved in the sleeper’s design but told the Post in a statement that safety was “priority number one” for the company.

“Safety is priority number one for Fisher-Price” and the company “has a long, proud tradition of prioritizing safety as our mission. We at Fisher-Price want parents around the world to know that we have every intention of continuing that tradition,” a Mattel spokesperson told the newspaper.

A warning from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission last month stated that the sleeper was associated with infant deaths due to infants rolling “from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or under other circumstances.”

One pediatrician, Natasha Burgert, wrote to the company in an open letter in 2015, urging Mattel to recall the product citing safety concerns about restraints used by the product to keep infants from rolling over in the sleepers at night.

“As a pediatrician and parent consumer, I believe it irresponsible to promote the Rock n’ Play™ Sleeper as an safe, overnight sleeping option for infants. By continuing to do so, you are putting babies at risk,” she wrote.

Tags Child safety Fisher-Price Mattel
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