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Family Sues Fisher-Price After Daughter Dies in Recalled Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

— May 1, 2019

A family in Delaware recently filed a lawsuit against Fisher-Price over allegations that the company’s recalled Rock ‘n Play sleeper caused the death of their infant daughter.

A Delaware family is suing Fisher-Price after their infant daughter tragically died in the company’s Rock ‘n Play sleeper. The suit was filed just two weeks after Fisher-Price issued a massive recall of all its popular Rock ‘n Play sleepers, but the grieving family said the recall came too late. According to the family, if the sleepers had been recalled earlier, their daughter would still be alive.

Mattel Headquarters
Mattel Headquarters; image courtesy of Jelson25 via Wikimedia Commons,

The fatal incident happened last September. The infant was about three-months-old at the time and was only “in the sleeper for a few minutes but that was enough time for her to turn over and suffocate.” In a statement, the family’s lawyer, Jonathan Sorkowitz, said:

“What my clients are hoping to do is make some positive change for others out of this situation and to warn others about the dangers of this product and products like it. They absolutely used this in a reasonable way and in a way that should be expected by the manufacturer when they put this product on the market.”

As part of the lawsuit, the family argues that the sleeper “causes death or injury to infants because its defective design enables them to move into positions in which they cannot breathe.” Sorkowitz added:

“The manufacturer was aware of this product for a long period of time, ignored a series of warning signs was aware of other deaths and other injuries that had occurred, knew of restrictions and outright bans of this abroad and continued to sell it.”

Additionally, the family alleges the company and its parent company, Mattel, actually “lobbied the Consumer Product Safety Commission to allow the companies to avoid regulations that would have kept the product off the market.” Sorkowitz said, “that’s part of this story, the fact that this sleeper product was carved out of a regulatory category and that voluntary standards were adopted instead.”

In response to the family’s lawsuit and another that’s been filed since the recall, Fisher-Price issued the following statement:

“A child fatality is an unimaginable tragedy. For almost 90 years, Fisher-Price has made the safety of children our highest priority. In recent days, questions have been raised about the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper. We stand by the safety of our products. However, due to reported incidents in which the product was used contrary to the safety warnings and instructions, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall of the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper in partnership with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fisher-Price has a long, proud tradition of prioritizing safety as our mission. We at Fisher-Price want parents around the world to know that we have every intention of continuing that tradition.”


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