Mold Issues Prompt Nationwide Recall of Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleeper

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleeper, Fisher-Price, recall, mold, health hazard
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On January 8, the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Fisher-Price was cooperating with a voluntary recall if Newborn Rock 'N Play Sleeper. The CPSC recommended that consumers should immediately inspect the sleeper and stop using it if mold is found. Units currently in retail stores are not included in this recall to inspect.

The recall involves some 800,000 units of the Rock 'n Play Sleeper because Mold can develop between the removable seat cushion and the hard plastic frame of the sleeper when it remains damp or is infrequently cleaned; thus, posing a risk of exposure to mold to infants sleeping in the product. The CPSC advises that mold has been associated with respiratory illnesses and other infections. Mold is not present on the sleeper at the time of purchase; however, mold growth can occur after use of the product.

The CPSC notes that Fisher-Price has received 600 reports of mold on the product. To date, 16 consumers have reported that their infants have been treated for respiratory issues, coughs, and hives after sleeping in the product. The recall asks that consumers inspect all Fisher-Price Rock N' Play infant recliner seats called sleepers. The sleeper is designed for babies up to 25 pounds and is composed of a soft plastic seat held by a metal rocking frame. The product has a removable, fabric cover that is sold in 14 patterns and color palettes.

The product, which is manufactured in China, has been available at retail outlets nationwide as well as online since September 2009 for between $50 and $85. The CPSC notes that units currently in retail stores are not affected by this recall to inspect. Only products that show signs of mold after use by consumers are included in the announcement.

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The CPSC stresses that consumers should immediately check for mold under the removable seat cushion. Dark brown, gray, or black spots can indicate the presence of mold. If mold is found, consumers should immediately stop using the product. Consumers can contact Fisher-Price by phone or online to receive cleaning instructions or further assistance.

Consumer Contact: Fisher-Price; at (800) 432-5437, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.
Online contact: http://service.mattel.com/us/

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mold has been present on the planet and is present virtually everywhere. It grows in a moist environment. Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some individuals are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may develop a serious lung infection from mold exposure. These individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.

Reference: US Consumer Products Safety Commission

See also: Nap Nanny baby recliner implicated in five infant deaths

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Comments

As a Steiner preschool teacher I am not in favor of plastics at all, not only in seats but bottles, toys and other items that baby can put in the mouth. Plastic toys often contain PVC (Polyvinyl chloride), Phthalates , BPA (Bisphenol A ) which is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic the body’s own hormones, and has been known to leach. Many soft toys are filled with petroleum based polyfill which children sleep with and often suck on when teething. These items, which are detrimental to health, are often overlooked by Consumer Affairs. In the Steiner philosophy wood is promoted as a toy material.