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WASHINGTON – The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Tuesday took an unusual step to warn the public about infant rockers that haven’t been recalled.
The CPSC and Fisher-Price issued an alert surrounding at least 13 infant deaths connected to Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rockers and Newborn-to-Toddler Rockers. The deaths occurred starting in 2009.
The rockers remain available for sale, but the CPSC issued a strong statement: “Parents and caregivers should never use inclined products, such as rockers, gliders, soothers, and swings, for infant sleep.” Fisher-Price has sold more than 17 million rockers worldwide since the 1990s.
In addition, the CPSC and Kids2 put out a similar warning about Kids2 Bright Starts Rockers and Baby Einstein Rockers after at least one infant death in a Bright Starts Rocker, in 2019. Kids2 has sold more than 1.8 million rockers worldwide in the last decade.
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka says the agency found out about the deaths earlier this year but was initially unable to say anything publicly because of what he called a “gag rule.” This provision in product safety law generally restricts the CPSC from disclosing negative information about a product or company until the company has had a chance to respond.
“Here, the Gag Rule delayed our message to the public by two months,” Trumka said. “Even with cooperation from Fisher-Price, we fought an uphill battle to release this information to warn parents and caregivers. Sharing vital safety information should not be this hard.”
In response, Teresa Murray, consumer watchdog with the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, said:
“It makes me sick inside to think that babies may have died after authorities were investigating suspicious deaths involving rockers. Inclined sleepers have been connected to more than 200 infant deaths, leading to multiple recalls in recent years. Yes, it seems products like these will be banned starting June 23 under new CPSC rules. Yes, the pending Safe Sleep for Babies Act will go even further to protect precious young lives.
“But what about other dangers lurking in our homes and on our playgrounds that aren’t connected to infant sleep products? Why is it OK to delay alerting the public about products suspected of causing injuries or deaths? Commissioner Trumka is right: Congress should take action to revoke what the CPSC calls the ‘gag rule’ so regulators who want to protect us can do their jobs properly.”
The CPSC said consumers are encouraged to report incidents involving these or other infant products to the CPSC at saferproducts.gov. CPSC investigates incidents and fatalities that occurred while infants were in the products.
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