WASHINGTON — Fisher-Price ignored repeated warnings from pediatricians, parents, and regulators about safety warnings for an infant sleeper product linked to dozens of deaths, according to a newly released Congressional investigative report.
“The Committee’s investigation revealed that Fisher-Price failed to ensure the Rock ‘n Play was safe before bringing it to market, ignored critical warnings from pediatricians, parents, and foreign regulators that the product was dangerous, and continued to market it for overnight sleep despite clear evidence that this put infants at risk of serious harm or death,” the staff report from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said.
Erika Richter of Portland, OR shared her story of unimaginable loss with the House panel Monday.
“Now this is all I have left to remember my daughter. Her outfit from the hospital that still smells like her,” Richter said.
Richter’s one-month-old daughter Emma died after she was placed in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper in 2018.
“We trusted a name brand and we were wrong,” Richter said.
Lawmakers questioned the head of the parent company, Mattel.
“Fifty children, infants, died,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York). “Fifty. You did not conduct any studies. You didn’t even talk to a licensed pediatrician.”
“Our hearts go out to every family who suffered the loss,” said Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattel Inc.
The company defended its safety standards and regulations.
“What is Mattel, Fisher-Price, learning from this experience?” asked Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas).
“At Mattel, we recently formed the medical and scientific counsel that is compromised of renowned pediatricians,” said Kreiz. “We are learning as well. We are evolving our practices. We will never stop improving what we can do.”
Lawmakers are now looking into whether the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) needs more regulatory and enforcement power.
“Fix this broken system that has impacted mothers like me so severely,” Richter said.
“For nearly a year while CPSC’s research was ongoing, the public was not informed about the risks posed by the Rock ‘n Play,” the report said. “Because of laws preventing CPSC from disclosing information provided by manufacturers, CPSC could not publicly release any information about the deaths or injuries associated with Rock ‘n Play or institute a recall without engaging in costly and drawn out litigation or administrative proceedings.”
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