In April 2021 Fisher-Price voluntarily recalled their Rock ‘n Play Sleeper and another similar product after allegations the product had led to as many as four infant deaths. At the time Fisher-Price urged consumers do a better job of reading the enclosed literature regarding proper use of the devices. On June 7, 2021, Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel Inc along with Senior Vice President & General Manager of Fisher-Price Chuck Scothon appeared before Congress to answer questions about the reasons for the recall.
Prior to hearing, the Oversight and Reform Committee released a staff report outlining and detailing the nearly two-year investigation into the design, safety and recall of infant inclined sleeping products. Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney issued the following statement: “Today’s 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. Fisher-Price ignored multiple warning that the Rock ‘n Play was not safe for infant sleep, including reports of infant injuries and deaths. Despite this clear evidence, the company continued to market the Rock ‘n Play for overnight sleep, reaping hundreds of millions in revenue during the ten years the product was on the market. 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.”
The executives from Mattel and Fisher-Price stunned the Committee when they admitted they had received 97 reports of infant deaths in the Rock ‘n Play. This number is nearly twice the number previously reported and nearly 7 times the number that was admitted in 2018 to the Consumer product Safety Committee. In 2013 a pediatrician wrote that the product was unsafe and Mattel did no further study of the product and failed to warn the public. As of June 2021 witness Scothon acknowledged that the company has still not done a safety review of the product. When Scothon was asked how long a child can safely sleep on an incline and Scothon refused to answer the question. Scothon later acknowledged that international regulators had previously warned Fisher-Price that the Rock ‘n Play was unsafe for sleep.
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