U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, has called for a complete ban of the sale of incline infant sleepers following a Consumer Product Safety Commission Report that found more than 70 babies in the U.S. have died while sleeping in such products.
“As a mother, caring for and protecting my children is my number one priority,” Gillibrand said during a call with reporters Tuesday. “And as a senator, it is to ensure the safety of all children in New York, and my top priority is getting dangerous consumer products off the shelves.”
Gillibrand also co-sponsored the Safe Sleep Act of 2019, which bans the sale and transportation of infant sleepers at an incline of more than 10 degrees.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep on hard and flat surfaces without blankets or stuffed animals to prevent them from suffocating or suffering from other sleep-related deaths.
“Babies in these inclined sleepers can turn their heads or sometimes roll over entirely, causing them to obstruct their airway and lead to suffocation,” Gillibrand said. “People trust that the products they’re buying for their babies are safe, and they should be able to.”
Recalls of such products because of links to infant deaths have already commenced.
Dorel Juvenile Group USA recalled 24,000 inclined sleepers, Fisher-Price recalled nearly 5 million Rock ’n Play Sleepers, Kids II recalled 670,000 sleepers and Fisher Price recalled about 71,000 sleeper accessories.
However, Gillibrand is worried about the sleepers that have not been recalled, and is calling for all companies selling these products to not only enact a recall, but also to notify all their customers who bought the sleepers about the risks they pose.
“In America, we all have the responsibility to protect babies and children, and retailers have an opportunity to be good actors and help prevent more infant deaths due to these sleepers,” she said.
The Weigand family from Western New York is one family that lost its child due to the inclined sleeper.
Their 6-month-old son, James Tre Weigand III, died nearly two years ago napping in a Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleeper.
The Weigands sued Fisher-Price in state court. There are also two class-action lawsuits against the company that were filed in April in the Buffalo U.S. District Court, alleging Fisher-Price knew about but ignored the dangers of the sleepers.
Massarah Mikati covers the New York State Legislature and immigration for Johnson Newspaper Corp. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her on Twitter @massarahmikati.