At least two putative class action lawsuits were filed against Mattel Inc. and its subsidiary Fisher-Price Inc., a week after Fisher-Price issued a recall on 4.7 million of its Rock ‘n Play Sleepers because it was revealed that the product was linked to more than 30 infant deaths over a 10-year span, Law360 reported.
The first lawsuit was filed on behalf of a plaintiff whose 12-week-old baby died while in the sleeper. It alleges the companies continued to market and sell the infant sleeper despite reports of infant injuries and deaths, including asphyxiation, twisted neck syndrome, and flat head syndrome. That lawsuit also names Amazon because the family purchased the sleeper through the online retailer.
The second lawsuit, filed in New York federal court, claims the companies used false and misleading marketing of the sleeper to persuade consumers that the product was safe in order to “reap vast profits.”
In April, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) issued a warning to consumers that Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleepers had been linked to 10 deaths since 2015, and cautioned parents and caregivers not to put infants older than 3 months of age or infants who were unrestrained in the sleeper due to the risk of the baby rolling over and falling out of the sleeper. Babies generally begin rolling over at about 3 months of age, the CPSC said.
At the time, Fisher-Price didn’t think it was necessary to recall the sleepers, insisting that the product meets all relevant safety standards. But the American Academy of Pediatrics and parents of infants who had died in the sleepers were outraged and called for a recall. Consumer Reports then released an analysis that linked the sleepers to 32 infant deaths from 2011 to 2018. Only then did Fisher-Price agree to a recall.
A few days after the Fisher-Price recall, the CPSC announced retailer Kids II recalled nearly 700,00 of its rocking sleepers sold in the U.S. since 2012, because they also were tied to five infant deaths in the past seven years. The sleepers were sold at major retailers nationwide including Walmart, Target and Toys R Us, and online, from March 2012 through April 26, 2019, for about $40 to $80 each.
Similar to reports involving the Fisher-Price devices, many of the deaths occurred in the Kids II Rocking Sleepers after the infants rolled from their backs to their stomachs while unrestrained in the sleepers.