At least 100 deaths have been linked to a recalled Fisher-Price infant sleeper, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced.
According to a recall announcement published by the CPSC earlier this month, Fisher-Price re-announced a recall of its Rock ‘n Play Sleepers over risks of fatalities that can occur when infants roll from their back to their stomach or side while unrestrained, or other under circumstances.
The recall affects all models of the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, and roughly 4.7 million units in total. Rock ‘n Play Sleepers were sold from September 2009 through April 2019 for between $40 to $149 at major retailers nationwide, including Target, Walmart, and Amazon.
As noted by the CPSC, Fisher-Price issued an initial recall of its Rock ‘n Play Sleeper on April 12, 2019. At the time of the original recall, the sleeper had been linked to over 30 infant deaths. Since the recall, approximately 70 additional fatalities were reported, including at least 8 deaths that occurred after the initial recall announcement.
Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper at Center of Litigation
The shocking number of fatalities associated with the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper has again put Fisher-Price in the spotlight.
And while the news comes as a shock to countless parents, Fisher Price Rock n’ Play sleepers – as well as Fisher-Price’s policies for issuing recalls about potentially dangerous products – have been the subject of litigation since the original recall. In fact, two class-action lawsuits were filed against Fisher-Price and its parent company Mattel just weeks after its initial recall in April 2019.
In one of those cases, the parents of a 12-week-old girl who died minutes after being placed in a Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in September 2018 alleged that the Rock ‘n Play poses significant risks of injury and death to infants because it allows them to move into positions in which they are unable to breathe and that Fisher-Price’s recall “was too late to save the lives of more than 30 infants and to prevent the injuries of numerous other infants caused by the Rock ‘n Play.”
The other case, filed a day after the first, was brought by a mother who had received the Rock ‘n Play as a gift in 2016 “to use as a sleeper for overnight or prolonged sleep for her infant." Her lawsuit alleges that Fisher-Price’s marketing of the sleeper “was dangerously false and misleading.”
Products Liability & The Rights of Injured Consumers
Fisher-Price’s recall re-announcement brings a terrible tragedy to light, and serves as an important reminder for parents to check any infant sleepers they’ve been gifted, purchased second-hand, or kept from a previous child to see if they have been recalled.
You can check the make and model of your sleeper or any other infant product by searching the CPSC recall page.
The new data also suggests that Fisher-Price may have to contend with a growing number of claims from families with children who’ve been injured or killed while using their products. As with the previous class actions filed after the original recall, these claims will be based on products liability – which is the liability manufacturers, distributors, and retailers have for injuries and losses caused by defective products.
Products liability cases are distinct from other types of personal injury and wrongful death cases in that they often involve claims brought under strict liability – a theory of liability that holds Defendants liable for damages regardless of whether they were negligent. In strict liability claims, Plaintiffs work to prove that errors in the design, manufacturing, or marketing of the product rendered the product defective and that the defect was a substantial cause of their injury.
Products liability cases are highly complex and, because they are typically brought against corporations with extensive resources, quite challenging to litigate. However, experienced attorneys with the resources to take on powerful adversaries can effectively handle these claims. If you have a case involving a defective product, finding counsel experienced in these types of cases is crucial.
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our award-winning team has extensive experience litigating cases involving defective products, negligence, and strict liability. If you have questions about a products case and how we can help, call (732) 440-3089 or contact us online.