Companies recalling infant sleepers after dozens of deaths

Feb 28, 2020 | Product Liability

Three different types of defects may make a product dangerous for consumers to use. These include a faulty design, a flaw in production, or a failure to provide proper use instructions or warnings.

According to Consumer Reports, infant inclined sleepers have a fatal design flaw that threatens babies’ lives.

A dangerous design

Recent research proves that a 10- to 30-degree angle can cause a sleeping infant’s head to shift far enough forward to block the airway, leading to suffocation. The angle can also make it possible for an infant to roll into the sidewall or head rest and suffocate. Even so, infant inclined sleepers position infants at this angle.

The product background

The initial idea came from a flawed medical recommendation that went against the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The parent who received this advice from her pediatrician went on to design the first inclined sleeper. She was not a safety expert and relied on others in the company to do the research and testing. However, those in charge of research and testing never followed through, and the company introduced the product without ever verifying its safety.

Infant injuries and fatalities

Reports link over 1,000 incidents to the sleepers, including hundreds of serious injuries and at least 73 deaths.

Manufacturer and retailer recalls

Some manufacturers have issued recalls because of injuries and deaths associated with their products. Many others whose products have not caused any known incidents are doing the responsible thing and pulling the products from the marketplace proactively due to the research indicating the hazards. Since April of 2019, companies have taken more than 5 million of the sleepers off the shelves.

Legislative action

Lawmakers feel alarmed by the fact that this product for infants and others like it have spent years on the market, even though confirmed fatalities go back several years. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act includes a ban on inclined sleepers, as well as new product regulations for other infant sleep products.