2 makers of popular baby products just avoided recalls, even as federal officials acknowledge safety problems

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 4/11/2019, 9:05 a.m.
The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, for the second time in recent months, has sided with manufacturers of baby products ...
The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, for the second time in recent months, has sided with manufacturers of baby products that have caused death or injury to infants.

By Ray Sanchez and Melissa Alonso, CNN

(CNN) -- The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, for the second time in recent months, has sided with manufacturers of baby products that have caused death or injury to infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics on Tuesday called for the immediate recall of the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper, citing a Consumer Reports analysis linking the popular sleeper to 32 infant deaths.

The demand comes just months after the federal agency tasked with protecting consumers from hazardous toys and products allowed another manufacturer, Britax, to resolve reports of injuries involving its popular BOB Gear jogging strollers without issuing a recall.

In the case of the baby sleeper, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Fisher-Price on Friday issued an alert asking customers to stop using the popular product if their children can roll over. It cited reports of 10 infant deaths since 2015.

Fisher-Price also has said it does not believe its baby sleeper caused all the deaths reported by Consumer Reports, claiming some of the children either had a previous medical condition or the product was not used properly, the journal reported.

But the pediatricians' group said the CPSC warning did not go far enough and called for stores to remove the sleeper from its shelves.

'Consumers will come up short,' officials warned

The CPSC in November settled with Britax over how to inform consumers about strollers involved in at least 50 injuries to children and 47 adults. That deal also stopped short of a recall.

Two CPSC commissioners, however, issued a dissenting opinion to the administrative court settlement between the agency and the manufacturer, writing that "consumers will come up short in terms of safety" under the agreement.

"We fear that other respondents will invoke this agreement as a precedent in future recalls, thereby lessening safety for far more consumers than are affected by this agreement," Commissioners Robert Adler and Elliot Kaye wrote.

The settlement followed a CPSC administrative complaint against Britax Child Safety, maker of the BOB Gear off-road strollers. The agency sought a recall, alleging that a quick release mechanism on the strollers failed to secure the front wheel to the fork. The defect represented a substantial hazard leading to serious injuries, the CPSC said.

The company fought against the recall, maintaining its product was not defective.

The BOB stroller has a quick-release feature that, when used properly, "is safe and doesn't require a recall," Britax President Robert McCutcheon said in a statement.

"It allows you to quickly remove the front wheel, making it easy to fold up for storage or transport," the statement said. "But, some stroller users were unfamiliar with, or had trouble with, this feature, leading to some reports of injuries."

He said the company was also updating an educational campaign website on use of the strollers.

Injuries to children on the BOB Gear off-road strollers included a concussion, head and face trauma requiring stitches, dental injuries, contusions and abrasions; adults suffered a torn labrum, fractured bones, torn ligaments, contusions and abrasions.