Amid growing concerns about the dangers of inclined sleepers for infants, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced action that would take many of the sleepers off the market. The announcement comes after nearly 60 infant deaths have been blamed on them.
The CPSC says it’s proposing a new rule that would require the sleepers to have no more than a 10-degree incline. Many of them, including those made by Fisher-Price, put sleeping infants at a 30-degree angle. A new study commissioned by the CPSC states that allowing infants to sleep at anything greater than a 10-degree angle places them at risk of suffocation.
Fisher-Price originated the inclined sleeper a decade ago. However, other companies now manufacture and sell them — despite concerns voiced by doctors and safety advocates about the dangers.
Five different brands have been recalled after reports of infant mortalities. However, consumers can still buy inclined sleepers that violate guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Some parents have taken legal action against the manufacturers. One couple lost their three-month-old son. They found him unresponsive just 30 minutes after putting him in a Chicco infant napper two years ago. The company is denying that their product is responsible for the baby’s death. It says it’s received no other reports of their product being unsafe.
Certainly, no amount of money can make up for the loss of a child. However, lawsuits against manufacturers of dangerous or defective products can help spur the companies that make them and the retailers that sell them to stop doing so — potentially saving lives. Legal actions can also help get the attention of federal safety officials who can seek action to take products off the market and/or require necessary changes.