House committee launches investigation into inclined sleepers tied to infant deaths

WASHINGTON - A House oversight committee said Tuesday it was launching an investigation into infant inclined sleepers, the popular bassinet-like products reportedly tied to several baby deaths and the subject of a major recall earlier this year.

Reps. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said in a statement that the Committee on Oversight and Reform was seeking a range of documents from infant-product manufacturers and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, among others, about how the product was developed and marketed.

article continues below

Millions of inclined sleepers were sold over the last decade, and many parents swore by the product's ability to get newborns to sleep. The product differs from traditional cribs by allowing babies to sleep at an angle of about 30 degrees.

But in April, Fisher-Price, the product's largest manufacturer, issued a recall in conjunction with the CPSC for 4.7 million units of its Rock 'n Play inclined sleeper after it was associated with more than 30 infant deaths. The CPSC said the deaths occurred when babies turned over while unrestrained or "under other circumstances." Another company, Kids II, also recalled its inclined sleeper after it was associated with five deaths.

Fisher-Price invented the inclined sleeper category based on faulty beliefs about infant sleep and without medical safety testing or input from a pediatrician, and the company and regulators allowed the product to be sold despite questions about its safety.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has opposed inclined sleepers for several years, saying babies should sleep on their backs on flat surfaces.

Fisher-Price followed its recall by also pulling another inclined sleeper accessory, despite no reports of problems, signaling a full retreat from the product category it had once championed.

A third company, Dorel Juvenile Group, last month launched its own recall despite no injuries or deaths, asking consumers to stop using the Eddie Bauer Slumber and Soothe Rock Bassinet and Disney Baby Doze and Dream Bassinet.

But inclined sleepers remain legal to buy and sell in the United States.

That could change. Bills introduced last month in the House and Senate would ban all infant sleeping devices with an incline of greater than 10 degrees, matching safety regulations in Canada.

The CPSC is studying what it should do about inclined sleepers. On Tuesday, agency officials joined industry representatives and others to discuss whether changes to a voluntary standard for inclined sleepers could improve the product's safety.

Read Related Topics

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Prince George Citizen welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. Comments that contain external links will not be permitted. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Trudeau Conflict of Interest POLL

Should the RCMP investigate Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for obstruction of justice after the ethics commissioner found Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act in the SNC-Lavalin affair?

or  view results

Sign Up For Our e-Newsletter!
  • 97/16

    Prince George's Weekly News

Popular Citizen

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.

Lowest Gas Prices in Prince George
Prince George Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com