Oversight Committee Releases Staff Report Revealing Fisher-Price Ignored Repeated Warnings That Rock ‘n Play Endangered Babies

Jun 7, 2021
Press Release
Report Follows 20-Month Investigation, Released Ahead of Hearing with Top Company Executives

Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2021)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued this statement following the release of a staff report detailing the findings of the Committee’s nearly two-year investigation into the design, safety, and recall of infant inclined sleep products:

 

“Today’s staff report is damning,” said Chairwoman Maloney.  “The Committee’s investigation shows how corporate greed and weak federal oversight led to the deaths of dozens of babies in an unsafe product.  Fisher-Price ignored multiple warnings that the Rock ‘n Play was not safe for infant sleep, including reports of infant injuries and deaths.  Despite this clear evidence, the company continued to market the Rock ‘n Play for overnight sleep, reaping hundreds of millions in revenue during the ten years the product was on the market.  It is shameful that Fisher-Price endangered lives simply to help its bottom line.  The findings of the Committee’s investigation make clear that we must strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Act to put American consumers over corporate profits.  I am committed to doing just that.”

 

The staff report findings include:

 

  • Fisher-Price failed to consult with any pediatricians or take other key steps to ensure the Rock ‘n Play’s design was safe before releasing it to the public.

 

  • Fisher-Price ignored multiple warnings from international regulators, pediatricians, and its own customers that the Rock ‘n Play was dangerous to babies, and marketed it for overnight sleep despite knowledge of the risks. 

 

  • Due to weak federal oversight, Fisher-Price was able to keep this dangerous product on the market for a decade, during which time more than fifty infants died using the product, while the company took in at least $200 million in revenue. 

 

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission does not have adequate regulatory or enforcement powers to protect the public from dangerous products.

 

The Rock ‘n Play was developed and sold by Fisher-Price, a wholly-owned subsidiary of

Mattel and one of Mattel’s top-performing brands.  

 

When the Rock ‘n Play was launched in 2009, prevailing medical science held that

infants should sleep flat on their backs on a firm surface.

 

Mattel conducted no scientific or medical research to verify it was safe for infants to sleep at an incline before bringing the Rock ‘n Play to market, and kept it on the market for a decade despite multiple warnings and reports of infant injury and death.

 

The Rock ‘n Play was recalled in April 2019.  In August 2019, Committee launched this investigation into infant inclined sleep products that had been tied to dozens of infant deaths

 

Today at 11:00 a.m. ET the Committee will hold a hybrid hearing with Mattel’s CEO and the top executive at the company’s Fisher-Price subsidiary to examine the findings from the Committee’s investigation and address grave flaws in the U.S. consumer product safety system. 

 

Click here to read today’s staff report.

 

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117th Congress