“Child Safety,” FJA Journal

September 9, 2019

The article “Child Safety” originally appeared in the Florida Justice Association Journal (Summer 2019). Please contact any of the authors if you’d like to learn more about Cohen Milstein’s experience in product liability claims related to products specifically designed for babies and young children.

The field of child safety is always evolving. With changing federal standards, advances in technology, and frequent safety recalls, it is hard for parents to stay informed. Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 5 million infant inclined sleepers. This article details the companies that sold the defective products, the breadth of the recalls, the underlying safety defects that led to the recalls, and a few practice tips on how to successfully handle a product defect infant death claim.

Kids II Rocking Sleeper

On April 26, 2019, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) ordered Kids II, Inc., to recall approximately 694,000 of its Rocking Sleepers. As of 2012, five infants died while using the product, some as a result of rolling from a back-lying position to a stomach-lying position while unrestrained.1 The product, which retailed in the $40 to $80 range, was sold from March 2012, through April, 2019, online and at major retailers nationwide, including Walmart, Target, and Toys “R” Us.

Kids II, Inc., is a private domestic for-profit corporation headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. It has approximately 500 employees worldwide in 15 offices. Its annual revenue hovers around $300 million.

Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleeper

On April 12, 2019, the CPSC ordered Fisher-Price, Inc., to recall approximately 4.7 million infant sleepers. As of 2009, more than 30 infant fatalities have occurred in its Rock ’n Play Sleepers.4 As with the Kids II Rocking Sleeper, some of these deaths occurred after the infants rolled over, from back to front, while unrestrained.5 The product was sold at major retailers for approximately $40 to $149. Fisher-Price knew how consumers used its sleeper — Instagram has thousands of images of babies, unrestrained, free of harness, and surrounded by blankets and stuffed animals while in a sleeper.6 Fisher-Price’s marketing materials made claims that its inclined sleeper allowed babies to sleep comfy all night long.7 It emphasized the product’s soft padding and angled positions, which safety experts say are dangerous characteristics.

Fisher-Price, Inc., is a domestic for-profit corporation headquartered in East Aurora, New York. It is a subsidiary of Mattel, sells products worldwide, and has an annual revenue average of about $1.1 billion.