The 70-page complaint out of New York’s Western District claims Fisher-Price and Mattel’s marketing of the Rock ‘n Play as a product that could help infants sleep at a comfortable incline through the night was dangerously false and misleading. In fact, the product, the case argues, is inherently unsafe and not at all fit for its intended use.
According to the lawsuit, the way an infant is positioned at a 30-degree incline in the Rock ‘n Play “significantly increased the risk” that the child’s head will tilt into a dangerous position that could constrict the baby’s windpipe and/or cause the head and face to become pressed against the padded side of the product, blocking airflow. The defendants’ suggestion for parents to keep babies strapped into the Rock ‘n Play, the case continues, is also problematic:
“In addition, because Defendants advise parents to keep babies strapped in restraints overnight while sleeping on an incline, the Rock ’n Play Sleeper increases the infant’s risk of developing flat head (plagiocephaly) and twisted neck (torticollis) syndromes, conditions that often require babies to wear expensive head-molding helmets and undergo physical therapy.”
Fisher-Price and Mattel, the lawsuit alleges, knew about the Rock ‘n Play’s risks while it was on the market yet ignored all such concerns, as well as “at least 32 infant deaths” and “upwards (sic) of 700 injuries” that have been linked to the sleeper, while insisting the product was suitable for infants to sleep in.
Despite the voluntary recall of the Rock ‘n Play on April 12, 2019, Fisher-Price has apparently stuck by its claim that the product is safe. The lawsuit cites a statement from Fisher-Price General Manager Chuck Scothon, who said the company stands by the safety of its product yet recalled the Rock ‘n Play after hearing of “reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions."
On the recall itself, the lawsuit argues that it’s simply not enough because it “unfairly limits full reimbursement” for those who owned the Rock ‘n Play for six months or less. Parents who owned the Rock ‘n Play for more than six months are to receive a voucher “for a Fisher-Price product” to be selected from a list of products provided by the company.