What's the Problem with this Baby Sleeper?
Inclined infant sleepers like the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play have been linked to at least 73 infant fatalities and more than 1,000 reported incidents.
In nearly all cases, the babies rolled from their backs to their stomachs or side when the accident occurred, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Parents often choose inclined baby sleepers like the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play to give them a safe place to put their infant so they can rest or have a free hand. However, many parents may not be aware that leaving a child in an inclined position can be dangerous.
Reputable medical organizations have warned about appropriate infant sleep environments and against the dangers of letting infants sleep in an inclined position. Dangerous products that position babies in this manner include soothers, rockers, nappers, nests, pods, loungers, and docks.
These devices are stationary and come with a cot or sleeping area that’s at a slight incline (usually between 10 and 30 degrees).
However, as opposed to jumpers, bouncers and swings, inclined sleepers were specifically marketed as far back as 2009 as a safe place to let babies sleep. They’re popular with parents because many assume that the incline helps to reduce the chance of reflux or spitting up, which isn’t the case.
Letting infants sleep at an incline contradicts all data from reputable medical and scientific organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Because of the angle created by an inclined sleeper, the risk is that a baby’s airway can become obstructed. This can include their heads slumping forward in a chin-to-chest position that can make it difficult to breathe.
Another concern is that infants may potentially roll over or shift positions, which can cause suffocation if their faces are pressed against the padding. This is especially risky for very young babies, which have a harder time moving their heads out of an unsafe position.
Another problem is that very active sleepers may roll completely out of an inclined sleeper and become injured, either by the fall or by tipping the sleeper over and being trapped beneath it.
From January 2005 to June 2019, the Consumer Product Safety Commission at least 1,108 incident reports — including 73 infant deaths — associated with inclined baby sleeper injuries.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission had Erin Mannen, PhD, an independent expert from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, research the safety of inclined sleeper products marketed for infants.
Mannen tracked infant muscle movements and oxygen saturation and compared them based on the sleep surface — a flat crib, an inclined crib, and various inclined sleepers. Her investigation concluded that no inclined sleep surface is safe for an infant to sleep on.
An incline of more than 10 degrees and soft or plush surfaces increase the risk of infant injury, Mannen found. In contrast, flat and firm surfaces are safer for infant sleep.
Inclined Sleeper Health Risks
Infant sleepers with an incline of over 10 degrees can pose serious health risks to children under the age of one, including:
- Plagiocephaly (or flat head syndrome)
- Positional asphyxiation
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)
- Torticollis (twisted neck syndrome)
Has the Baby Sleeper Been Recalled?
When the Consumer Product Safety Commission first investigated the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Fisher-Price claimed that it didn’t believe “any deaths have been caused by the product,” and that the infant deaths were caused by parents improperly using the product and violating safety warnings and instructions.
Two weeks later, when babies even younger than 3 months old who couldn’t yet roll over were also being injured in the Rock 'n Play, Fisher Price issued a recall for all 4.7 million baby sleepers sold.
An April 2019 Washington Post report found that:
“Fisher-Price developed its revolutionary product based on faulty beliefs about infant sleep, with no clinical research into whether it was safe, and, rather than seeking the advice of pediatricians, consulted just a single doctor...In fact, the first time Fisher-Price hired a pediatrician to evaluate the Rock ‘n Play was eight years later, as part of the company’s defense in a class action lawsuit.”
Now, dozens of infant deaths have been linked to the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Baby Sleeper, and many devastated families are left wondering how this was able to happen and what they can do about it.
Fisher-Price Rock N Play Baby Sleeper Response
Fisher-Price had previously warned consumers to stop using the Fisher Price Rock n Play Sleeper when infants have the ability to roll over and possibly fall.
"[T]he reported deaths show that some consumers are still using the product when infants are capable of rolling and without using the three point harness restraint," the warning said.
Chuck Scothon, general manager at Fisher-Price, said the Rock n Play baby sleeper meets all "applicable safety standards," but also that "A child fatality is an unimaginable tragedy."
"Fisher-Price and every one of our employees take the responsibility of being part of your family seriously, and we are committed to earning that trust every day," Scothon added.
Consumer Product Safety Commission Warns Consumers Not To Use Inclined Sleepers
Oct. 31, 2019 - CPSC has issued an official warning  to parents and caregivers not to use the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper or any other inclined infant sleepers due to a risk of death and other severe injuries to babies.
The warning follows a study which determined that the angle of the sleepers is "too high to provide a safe sleep environment for babies," CPSC said. The agency is aware of at least 1,108 incidents -- including 73 infant deaths -- associated with inclined baby sleepers from January 2005 - June 2019.
Fisher-Price Recalls Inclined Sleeper Accessory from Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard Sets
June 27, 2019 - Fisher-Price issued a nationwide recall for an inclined sleeper accessory that was included with certain Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards due to concerns the sleeper may pose a serious health risk to infants placed inside.
Although no injuries or deaths have been linked to the product, it features a similar design to the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.
Are Lawsuits Being Filed?
The first post-recall Fisher-Price Rock n Play Sleeper lawsuit was filed in April of 2019. According to USA Today :
“Less than two weeks after Fisher-Price recalled its popular Rock ‘n Play sleepers, two class action lawsuits filed against Fisher-Price and its parent company Mattel.
The recall of 4.7 million Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers came a week after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Fisher-Price issued a safety warning that said 10 babies died. Days after the warning, a Consumer Reports investigation linked the Rock 'n Play Sleeper to over 30 infant deaths since 2009.
The first suit was filed by Samantha Drover-Mundy and Zachary Mundy of Delaware, who claim that the recall didn’t come soon enough to save their 12-week-old daughter, who they say died minutes after being placed in a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in September.
The next day, Cassandra Mulvey, of Nassau County, New York, filed another Rock n Play lawsuit, who received the item as a gift in 2016 to ‘use as a sleeper for overnight or prolonged sleep for her infant.’
The lawsuit claims the marketing of the Rock ‘n Play ‘was dangerously false and misleading.’
In both cases, families are seeking unspecified damages and are looking to create two classes of potential claimants: one for New York and the other nationwide.”
In October 2020, 2 sets of parents filed wrongful death lawsuits against Mattel Inc. and Fisher-Price over the recalled Rock ‘N Play Sleeper, which the parents claim is a defective and dangerous product that killed their babies.
Both deaths could have been avoided if Mattel and Fisher-Price heeded the warnings of doctors and done more research into Rock n Play safety before its launch in 2009, according to the lawsuits.
“The product frequently caused children to suffer injury and death,” the complaints state. “Fisher-Price and Mattel knew about this risk, and about multiple deaths and injuries that had already occurred but continued to sell the product anyway.”
The companies not only disregarded doctors’ concerns, they also manipulated safety standard for inclined sleepers so they could keep selling it, according to the lawsuits.
The parents are suing for gross negligence, breach of express and implied warranty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and wrongful death, among other allegations. They are seeking unspecified damages, attorney fees, and court costs.
Other Inclined Sleeper Recalls
- Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Rock ’n Glide Soother Recall: June 3, 2021 - Fisher-Price recalled its 4-in-1 Rock ’n Glide Soother after at least four babies died when they were placed on their backs and later found on their stomachs. The fatalities included a 4-month old from Missouri, a 2-month old from Nevada, a 2-month old from Michigan, and an 11-week old from Oklahoma City.
- Delta Inclined Sleeper Recall: January 30, 2020 - Delta Enterprise Corp. issued safety alerts for about 5,900 incline sleeper products sold by mass merchandisers nationwide under at least 5 brand names over concerns the sleepers were defectively designed and pose a suffocation risk to babies.
- Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Incline Sleeper Recall: January 30, 2020 - Delta Enterprise Corp. recalled nearly 6,000 incline sleepers after similarly designed sleepers were linked to at least 73 infant deaths and thousands of serious injuries.
- Beautyrest Beginnings Incline Sleeper Recall: January 30, 2020 - Beautyrest Beginnings Incline Sleeper with Adjustable Feeding Position for Newborns recalled by Delta Enterprise Corp.
- SwaddleMe Sleeper Recall: January 17, 2020 - SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper recalled by SUMR Brands over suffocation risk.
This is not a comprehensive list of inclined sleeper recalls. If your child was injured in a different brand of inclined infant sleep products, you may be eligible to take legal action. Contact our lawyers today to discuss your legal options.
Am I Eligible to File a Rock ' n Play Baby Sleeper Claim?
You may be eligible to file a lawsuit over your child’s inclined baby sleeper injuries if:
- You owned an inclined infant sleeper
- Your child was under one year of age when injured in the sleeper
- Your child required medical treatment or died as a result of the injury
How Much Time do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Most states have a time limit called a statute of limitations on Rock ‘n Play lawsuits; however, the majority of all persons whose child was harmed as a result of using a Rock ‘n Play sleeper will fall within those time limits if they contact an attorney in the near future.
For specific time limits for your claim, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page and one of our attorneys will contact you as soon as possible.
Is There a Class Action?
No, Rock ‘n Play injury lawsuits will not be included in class actions. Instead, national Rock ‘n Play lawsuit claims are likely to be consolidated into a multidistrict litigation, or MDL, where each plaintiff receives a settlement based upon the individual injuries and damages incurred, and our attorneys have reason to believe these settlements could be significant.
MDLs allows courts to process similar cases efficiently, while preserving the individual details of each case.
Do I Need to File a Claim?
If your child or other loved one suffered a serious injury or health problem as a result of a defective Rock n Play Sleeper, long-term, or even lifelong, medical care may be required. This could be incredibly expensive and since medical costs are continually rising may be largely unknown at the time of settlement or trial.
If a member of your family died due to a defective product or dangerous drug, no amount of money can undo that wrong. At Schmidt & Clark, LLP, it is our hope that every lawsuit we file can serve to make the manufacturer take note of the loss and pain their product has caused.
When that fails to make a company take action in the form of a product recall, greater warnings about its use and ultimately making safer products, we rely on their profit motivation to make them do the right thing. Unfortunately, in all too many cases it is only the fear of class action lawsuits and large settlements and verdicts that makes a company become a better corporate citizen.
What Does it Cost to File?
We are committed to representing all persons involved in a Rock ‘n Play baby sleeper lawsuit on a contingency basis, which means there are never any legal fees unless we win compensation in your case. To access your free, no-obligation consultation, use the contact form at the bottom of this page.
One of our lawyers handling Rock ‘n Play baby sleeper lawsuits for injury or infant death will contact you to answer any of your questions.
We recommend you check out all related product liability lawsuits that we've covered.
Get a Free Fisher-Price Rock n Play Baby Sleeper Lawsuit With Our Lawyers
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Fisher-Price Rock n Play baby sleeper lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new baby sleeper injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if your child or another loved one has been injured by a Fisher-Price Rock n Play Sleeper, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.