Dangerous infant sleepers that were recalled after dozens of infant deaths were still used recently at child care facilities across the country, according to a new survey, which started after the products were found in a Philadelphia daycare.
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A survey released Wednesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and Kids in Danger (KID) found that child care facilities were still using the sleepers months after the recalls. Of the 376 child care facilities that responded to the survey, one-in-10 were using at least one of the dangerous sleepers. The survey was conducted between June 20th and July 10th.
Adam Garber, PIRG’s Consumer Watchdog, said he started the survey after his wife noticed Rock ‘N Play sleepers at their son’s Philadelphia daycare, Alphabet Academy, in June. Garber said the daycare removed the sleepers within hours the next day after the recall was brought to their attention.
“They really care about safety,” Garber said of the daycare. “But they didn’t have the proper information to keep the kids safe.”
Alphabet Academy, which has three locations on East Passyunk Avenue, declined comment.
PIRG and KID blamed the situation in part on “confusing messages” about the recall. Initially, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers on April 5 about the Rock ‘N Play and linked deaths to infant rollovers, recommending that parents stop using the product once infants can roll over and to make sure babies were buckled into the sleepers.
“Some of the daycare providers told us they thought the products were only unsafe if improperly used,” Garber said of the survey. “The reality is the recall is because under normal operation kids were dying in these Rock ‘N Play sleepers.”
A CPSC spokesperson said the commission has warned consumers to stop using the recalled sleepers, and has re-posted the recalls to its website.
The advocacy groups said the CPSC should work with recalling companies and state agencies to ensure all child care facilities are automatically notified of recalled children’s products. According to PIRG and KID, the current recall system relies on parents and daycare centers seeking out information or seeing recall notices in media.
”Announcing a recall does little to keep children safe if companies don’t make efforts to reach the users of their faulty products,” Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids In Danger," said in a statement.
A Fisher-Price spokesperson said the company notified the media, companies on the secondary market, and consumers who registered their products about the recall. It also published information on social media and created a website for the recall.
“Ensuring that consumers are notified of a recall is critical,” the spokesperson said in a statement, "One of the best ways for consumers to ensure they receive notice of a product recall is to register their products when they are purchased or at any time after that -- which takes only a few minutes.
In a statement, Kids II said it sells its products for single-family use only. It also notified its retail partners, the media, and consumers who registered products about the recall, and posted information on its website and social media accounts.
“The recall has been reported through major networks, in more than 1,000 news articles, television news stories, and online news sites – reaching millions of people,” the Kids II statement said.
A CPSC spokesperson said the survey “raises an important point” and encouraged child care providers to sign up online to receive recall announcements directly from the commission. The commission said it also sends recall announcements to the state agencies that license child care providers.
“Parents should also raise the issue of recalled products and these recalled inclined sleepers with their day care providers,” CPSC spokesperson Nikki Fleming said. “CPSC encourages recalling companies to contact all known purchasers, including child care providers.”