Federal lawmakers this week introduced bills to ban the sale of inclined sleepers, a bassinet-like device for babies that faced widespread criticism after Fisher-Price recalled its popular Rock ‘n Play inclined sleeper in April following reports it was tied to more than 30 infant deaths.
Inclined sleepers remain legal to buy and sell in the United States, despite the safety recalls by Fisher-Price and another manufacturer, Kids II, both made in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. A Washington Post article in May detailed how Fisher-Price invented the inclined sleeper category without medical safety testing or input from a pediatrician and was based on faulty beliefs on infant sleep.
The House and Senate bills — introduced by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) — would ban all infant sleeping devices with an incline of greater than 10 degrees, matching safety regulations in Canada.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said inclined sleepers violate its “safe sleep” guidelines that recommend babies sleep on their backs on flat surfaces in empty cribs or bassinets. The guidelines are intended to avoid accidental suffocation deaths.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission had been examining the safety of the sleepers for at least a year before the Fisher-Price recall. The recall came shortly after Consumer Reports said it had obtained agency records about the numerous deaths connected to the product and pushed for a recall.
A call to the Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association was not immediately returned.
Consumer Reports, the American Academy of Pediatrics and consumer advocates applauded the bills.
“We think it’s great,” said Nancy Cowles, Kids in Danger executive director. “We feel there is no way to make sleep safe in these devices.”