After weeks of delay and wrangling, Fisher-Price has finally recalled its Rock n Play Baby Sleeper devices that have caused the death of at least 32 infants across the United States.
The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play baby sleeper has surged in popularity over recent years, and has been one of the most popular baby products in the United States since it was released in 2009. It gained what was almost a cult following, with sleep-deprived parents of infants praising the devices for helping to soothe their crying babies with its rocking, vibrating and playing calm music. The product seemed like a godsend to parents, allowing their newborns to fall asleep without needing to be held.
But over recent weeks, the Rock ‘n Play came under widespread scrutiny for safety concerns after some parents reported infant deaths while using the devices. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was the first federal agency to respond to these parent complaints. It issued a public warning about the product and its safety risks, and it also urged Fisher-Price to recall the devices. At the time of the agency’s warning, it had officially connected 10 baby deaths to the sleepers; however, consumer watchdog publication Consumer Reports was publishing that at least 32 baby deaths could be attributed to the Rock ‘n Play sleepers.
At the same time, parents, pediatricians, and health care professionals were also publicly asking Fisher-Price to recall the dangerous devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that the baby
sleeper products failed to meet the safety recommendations that the medical community maintains for safe sleeping environments for infants and babies. The Academy highlighted that all babies—especially small infants—should sleep on their back only on a firm, flat surface, and not on an inclined recliner like the Rock ‘n Play device. The doctors said that the sleeping devices posed a health risk to babies and should be recalled.
Doctors also highlighted that the packaging of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers violated doctor advice for safe and healthy sleeping environments for babies. The packaging of the sleepers boasted that they are “great for overnight sleep,” and Fisher-Price’s website stated that the sleepers are inclined to help your baby sleep “all night long.” But doctors point out that these user instructions violate guidelines to prevent SIDS (or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because babies should sleep on their backs to prevent asphyxiation.
But Fisher-Price refused for weeks to recall the baby sleepers. The company agreed to issue a joint statement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to warn parents about only using the Rock ‘n Play sleeper according to the package instructions, and to move babies to a safer environment, like a crib, once the infant could roll over—typically around 3 months of age.
Fisher-Price was maintaining the safety of its product because it was only recommended to use in small infants, less than 3 months of age. That age warning is important because babies start gaining the strength to roll themselves over around 3 months. Infants younger than that, however, usually are not strong enough to roll themselves over.
That ability to roll themselves over is apparently what caused 32 infants to die while unrestrained in the Rock ‘n Play sleepers. All of the reported baby deaths were caused by the infants rolling
over onto their stomachs or sides while they were not under any restraints. The cause of these deaths was asphyxia because the babies were not able to breathe on their stomachs. All of the deceased babies were placed in the Rock ‘n Play sleeper without using the 3-point harness that is included in the user
instructions, and all of the babies were 3 months of age or older.
Despite Fisher-Price’s warning, it still maintained that the sleeper devices met all applicable health and safety standards, and the company had refused to issue a nationwide recall. But criticism grew and public opinion was waning, so finally on April 12 Mattel (the parent company of Fisher-Price) announced that it would recall all of its Rock ‘n Play baby sleepers across the United States. The recall affects about 4.7 million devices nationwide.
As part of the recall, the company is warning that consumers should immediately stop using the product.
Defective Fuel Heater Causes Recall of Trucks and Buses
Over 50,000 buses and trucks are being recalled because of a defective component in a Cummins diesel engine. Navistar, Inc. has initiated the recall because of a possible fire hazard from an electric fuel heater.
Danger of Fire and Injury
If a Cummins medium-duty diesel engine would overheat, it could cause plastic components in an electric fuel heater to melt. As the plastic melts, it could cause the vehicle to catch fire. This engine is used in school buses, emergency vehicles and trucks. Another concern is could cause the engine to stall out. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that it increases the changeof a crash from the engine stall-out.
Of the more than 68,000 Cummins engines in circulation, about ten percent are expected to have the problem. At this point, Cummins said it isn’t aware of any fires or injuries that have been caused by the defective part.
The manufacturer is still in the process of developing a solution. The company plansto notify dealers on April 30th and begin the recall on May 29th. The first incident occurred in the early part of February. There have been 12 known cases where the component has melted when Cummins decided to issue a recall notice. The company notified Navistar, the maker of the majority of affected vehicles.
Most vehicles are 2018 and 2019 model years with a few 2020 and 2021 buses as well as International/Durastar and International/Workstar models from 2017.
IC Bus is a line of school and commercial busses. Models impacted from the recall range from 2018 to 2021 and include both school buses and commercial transit. International is the truck side of Navistar’s company with various models. The International/Workstar is a severe-duty truck for hauling heavy cargo, such as rock. The International/HV is often used to haul cement and other heavy products. The MV, another model included in the recall, is popular for hauling cargo with a trailer connected.
Navistar is a leading manufacturer of buses and commercial trucks as well as defense vehicles. Any recall can have significant impact because of the number of these vehicles out on the road. The size of the trucks and buses make any defects dangerous not only for the driver but for other vehicles around them. If the vehicle catches fire, it can incinerate other vehicles nearby. If the truck is hauling hazardousproducts or explosives, the risk intensifies.
While some vehicles have a safety system that shuts down a vehicle when a fire starts, not all models are equipped in that way. A fire with one of these models can result in severe injury, especially with burns. Other injuries can be caused by a crash if the engine shuts down while the vehicle is moving.
Anyone driving one of these models can contact their employer to let them know about the recall. They should stop driving immediately until it can be determined if the vehicle has a defective device and the issue is corrected.
Nissan Vehicles Now Included in Takata Airbag Recall
Nissan vehicles are the latest models to be recalled for defectiveness of Takata airbags. The manufacturer recalled around 216,000 vehicles because of the possibility of a malfunction in the airbag system.
Nissan Models and the Recall Issue
According to Nissan, the problem is with the airbags on the driver’s side of the vehicles. The vehicles are being recalled because the Takata airbags may not deploy when they are supposed to or they may rupture in the attempt. If they rupture, it could cause shrapnel to go flying in the cabin, which could lead to serious injury or death of a passenger. Shrapnel can create wounds like a knife because of the sharpness of the metal. The person may bleed out or have scarring and be disfigured. It can also lead to hearing and vision issues.
Models affected by this recall include NV cargo and passenger vans from 2012 to 2017, Nissan Titan and Armada from 2013 to 2015, and Infiniti QX56 from 2011 to 2012.
This isn’t the first time Takata airbags have caused a recall of vehicles. Back in 2008, Honda was the first auto manufacturer to recall vehicles because of defective airbags. The company had to recall about 4000 vehicles. Since then, other brands have had similar recalls. In fact, the situation has been so serious that Takata declared bankruptcy and the company was sold to Key Safety Systems.
The recall of Nissan vehicles is due to a slightly different issue. A problem with manufacturing at a Mexico facility could result in overloading or asymmetric loading of the propellant while the component was being manufactured. In prior recalls, the chemical that was used in the propellant could become unstable when it was exposed to higher temperatures or humidity levels. It also could develop instability after long time periods. The chemical being used was ammonium nitrate.
According to Nissan, no incidents have been reported which are related to the recall issue. Other Nissan and Infiniti models aren’t affected by the problem.
What to Do If You Own a Recalled Model
The manufacturer has a plan in place to deal with the recall. They will notify vehicle owners on May 25, 2020. Owners of the affected models can take their vehicles to a Nissan dealer to have the front airbag on the driver’s side replaced at no charge.
To find out if a Nissan vehicle is part of the recall, owners can check the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or contact Nissan at 800-867-7669. Infiniti owners can contact the manufacturer at 800-662-6200.
This is not the first recall of the year. Takata issued another recall notice in January for 10 million airbag inflators. These products were sold to 14 different auto manufacturers. When an airbag doesn’t deploy as it should, it can allow serious injury to the driver. If it malfunctions, the injuries can be quite severe and cause permanent injury or even death. Anyone with a recalled model should get the problem taken care of and the airbag replaced right away.
Joybird is the Latest Company to Recall Dressers for Tip-over Hazard
Joybird Furniture has issued a recall of the Blythe dresser due to a risk of tipping over. The product doesn’t comply with stability standards and could fall over and cause injury to children.
Risk of Tipping Over
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the dressers are unstable if they haven’t been attached to a wall. If a child should attempt to climb on the dresser, they are more likely to tip over and trap the child underneath. This could lead to serious injury and even death.
Currently, the recall notice involves around 100 of the products, which measure 66 inches in width and 37.5 inches in height. They are 18 inches in depth, and they weigh around 200 pounds. They cost $1700 and were sold online at the company website between October 2017 and July 2019.
To identify the dressers, the consumer can look on the back of the dresser for a sticker that includes the month and year the piece was manufactured and the name, Stitch Industries, Inc. It will also say TSCA Title VI Compliant.
There have been no incidents reported from consumers who own the dresser, but the product does contain a real risk. Anyone who owns one of these dressers can call the company at 888-282-0842 or email them at email@example.com. They can also contact the manufacturer through the company’s website.
Joybird has said it will provide a free pick-up of the dresser and give consumers a full refund. This is the resolution that safety experts prefer because it ensures the home is safe from the risks that come with this product. However, Joybird has given customers a second option. They can contact the company and request a free repair to be done in the home on the legs of the dresser or installation of a tip-over restraint kit. These options will also include a gift card worth $50 which can be used for merchandise on the company’s website.
Changes to Standards
Legislation is being considered which would create a federal statute that is not only stricter than the voluntary standard currently in use, but it would be mandatory. The act is STURDY or Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth.
According to Consumer Reports, someone is injured around every 20 minutes from a piece of furniture or an appliance that tips over. A death occurs about every two weeks. These items include televisions and dressers. Many products have been recalled because of the tip-over risk.
Dressers can cause suffocation of the child because they can’t get out from under them. Many times, no crash is heard because the body of the child absorbs the impact. The child may have been climbing the front or playing inside a drawer.
With the current voluntary standard, any dresser which stands above 30 inches should be able to stay in an upright position even with 50 pounds hanging from the front. Since the standard isn’t mandatory, manufacturers don’t have to test for it or meet it.
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