At least 13 babies have died while using Fisher-Price rockers in the past decade. Image courtesy of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Twitter
June 14 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators are warning parents against letting their babies sleep in rockers, stating they are connected to the deaths of more than a dozen infants over the past decade.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission made the announcement Tuesday as it alerted parents to infant deaths associated with rocker products made by Fisher-Price and Kids 2.
"No inclined product, made by Fisher-Price or any other company, is safe for infant sleep," said CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. wrote in a statement.
The U.S. regulator said in an alert Tuesday that Fisher-Price's Infant-to-Toddler Rocker and its Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker are connected to the deaths of at least 13 babies between 2009 and 2021.
In a separate alert the same day, CPSC said Kids 2's Bright Starts Rocker is connected to at least one reported death in 2019.
Neither company issued a recall but encouraged consumers to visit their websites or call their offices to report incidents or ask questions about the products.
Trumka said his office learned about the 13 deaths tied to Fisher-Price's rockers two months ago, but could not tell the public due to a gag rule that blocks the federal government from issuing alerts without first seeking permission from the manufacturer.
"The Gag Rule led to needless delay," he said. "Even with cooperation from Fisher-Price, we fought an uphill battle to release this information to warn parents and caregivers."
"Sharing vital safety information should not be this hard," he said, calling on Congress to immediately repeal the rule.
Nonpartisan U.S. PIRG Education Fund reiterated Trumka's call to end the gag rule, asking why is it allowed to delay alerting the public about products suspected of causing injuries or deaths.
"It makes me sick inside to think that babies may have died after authorities were investigating suspicious deaths involving rockers," Teressa Murray, consumer watchdog with the fund, said in a statement.
The announcement comes ahead of a new CPSC rule that goes into effect June 23 requiring infant sleep products to have a sleep surface angle of at most 10 degrees, which will most likely ban many rockers currently on U.S. shelves.
According to a report last July from the House committee on oversight and reform, Fisher-Price has received 97 reports of infant deaths connected to its Rock n' Play Sleeper.
"Just three years ago, this agency oversaw the recall of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play after a staggering number of infant deaths. Tragically, we now grieve 13 more infant deaths in Fisher Price rockers," Trumka said.
Alex Hoehn-Saric, CPSC chair, said in a statement that the agency issued the alerts as their investigation into incidents related to the products was ongoing.
The CPSC said Tuesday that parents and caregivers should never use inclined products for infant sleep and should not leave infants in these products unsupervised, unrestrained or with bedding material due to the risk of suffocation.