Monday, May 19, 2014

Pediatrician Criticizes Fisher Price Rock n' Play Sleeper - Provides Grounds for Lawsuit?

Pediatrician's critique of Rock n' Play Sleeper May Provide Basis for Child Injury Lawsuit

As a parent of two small children I was quite interested to learn that Fisher Price's Rock n' Play Sleeper was the subject of a compelling article authored by pediatrician Natasha Burgert, MD titled, Dear Fisher Price...

As a pediatrician and parent, Dr. Burgert felt it was irresponsible for Fisher Price to promote the Rock n’ Play™ Sleeper as an safe, overnight sleeping option for infants. 

Dr. Burgert's concern focused on three particular infant safety issuesleading her to conclude that the Rock n’ Play™ Sleeper should not be used for extended, unobserved infant sleep for the following reasons. First, design features of this product are known to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Second, there is a possible connection with extended sleep in teh Rock n' Play and the development of infants with brachycephaly/plagiocephaly and torticollis as a direct result of using this product. I have written about plagiocephaly previously here.  Finally, infants are often left with poor sleep habits that continue long beyond the product’s use.  Keep in mind that these critiques are from a highly qualified pediatrician who took it upon herself as a doctor and mother to publicly voice her concern about this product.

Dr. Burgert's article was followed up by another pediatrician, Roy Benaroch, M.D. in 2013 titled, "The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper is NOT for sleeping."  Dr. Benaroch echoed the same concerns as Dr. Burgert and concluded that the current language of the Rock n' Play remains inconsistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics published detailed guidelines about safe sleeping environments for babies.  Dr. Benaroch's takeaway as of April 2013 was that, "the Fisher-Price Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper does not meet the standards established by the AAP for safe sleep. Parents, do not leave your babies sleeping in this gizmo. Their safety is too important."

From what I can tell, since Dr. Burgert authored this article in 2012, Fisher Price has slightly modified the language in its promotional materials for the Rock n' Play.  The current language on the Fisher Price website states, in part:  "The seat is also inclined, which makes napping more comfortable for babies who need their heads elevated.  And with help from mom, baby can rock the day away--soothe, nap or play."  Fisher Price seems to now stress that the Rock n' Play is only for napping during the day.  Nevertheless, it appears that Dr. Benaroch believes the revised language remains out of line with current Pediatric recommendations.

Moreover, on Amazon.com, however, where the product is actively marketed and sold, the product description is much different, stating, "The Fisher-Price Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper provides a comfortable, safe place for baby to sleep overnight, or a convenient place for baby to relax during the day."  This suggestion that babies may safely sleep overnight in this product runs afoul of the suggestions of Dr. Burgert.

The bottom line from this blog's perspective is that any parent whose child has developed a head deformity or worse that they feel is related to the Rock n' Play should first consult their pediatrician and second consider consulting an attorney.

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The seat is also inclined, which makes napping more comfortable for babies who need their heads elevated. And with help from mom, baby can rock the day away—soothe, nap or play! - See more at: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/51903#sthash.kjz6nAsT.dpuf
The seat is also inclined, which makes napping more comfortable for babies who need their heads elevated. And with help from mom, baby can rock the day away—soothe, nap or play! - See more at: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/51903#sthash.kjz6nAsT.dpuf
The seat is also inclined, which makes napping more comfortable for babies who need their heads elevated. And with help from mom, baby can rock the day away—soothe, nap or play! - See more at: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/51903#sthash.kjz6nAsT.dpuf
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