Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is calling on two children’s product manufacturers, Fisher-Price and Kids2, to issue an immediate recall of several infant rockers following a report that they could cause death if used improperly. Meanwhile, safety leaders say current laws won’t allow them to issue warnings quickly enough.
The report, which was issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price warns parents that as many as 13 infant deaths have occurred in the Infant-to-Toddler and Newborn-to-Toddler rockers. Those deaths reportedly occurred between 2009 and 2021. The report states that Fisher-Price has sold more than 17 million rockers since the 1990s.
“Infant and child safety is a top priority for the CPSC,” said CPSC Chair Alex D. Hoehn-Saric in a statement. “The agency has been investigating incidents and analyzing the data related to these products. And this work will continue.”
The warning issued on Tuesday urges parents not to allow infants and toddlers to sleep in the rockers, as they violate safe sleep guidelines. They also remind parents not to leave infants and toddlers in rockers, gliders, swings, or other devices “unsupervised, unrestrained, or with bedding material due to the risk of suffocation.”
The warning, however, stops short of a full recall on the rockers themselves, which Sen. Blumenthal has now called for. In a series of tweets, he says that because of the deaths “it is clear they should be swiftly removed from the market & from unsuspecting families’ homes.” He also said it was “unconscionable that it has taken more than a decade to notify the public about the dangers linked to these rockers after multiple kids’ deaths and injuries.”
Blumenthal ended his statements by calling on Congress to pass the Sunshine in Product Safety Act, which he says would empower the CPSC to issue recalls faster.
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka says the organization was delayed in issuing a warning by two months due to a gag rule, which he says requires them to seek permission from the manufacturer before warning consumers.
In a statement released with the report, 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. Congress must immediately repeal the Gag Rule. If CPSC cannot issue timely warnings, dangers will remain hidden in people’s homes.”
In 2021, Congress passed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act which will require any infant sleeper (or device marketed as such) to maintain an incline of no more than 10 degrees. The rule goes into effect on June 23 and Trumka says the CPSC will need to decide whether these rockers fall under that ban.