Mom calls for change after infant daughter dies in Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper

Erika Richter's daughter Emma was just 2 weeks old when she died almost three years ago while using a Fisher-Price rock 'n play sleeper.
“I think about her all the time. I think about what life would be like if she were still there. She would be 3 years old, "said Richter," good morning America ". "When I see children, I think about them all the time because I never expected life to be like this."
Now Richter speaks with her voice so that no other parents have to endure what she has with Emma's death.
Richter attended a hearing in Congress this Monday following a report by the House Oversight and Reform Committee found Fisher-Price ignoring repeated warnings that his rock 'n play sleeper was dangerous before the device was recalled in April 2019.
"Now the only thing left is to remember my daughter," Richter said in a video played at the hearing as she held baby clothes in front of the camera. "Her outfit from the hospital that still smells like her."
"We trusted a brand and we were wrong," added Richter.
PHOTO: Erika Richter of Portland, Oregon, holds her newborn daughter Emma in her arms in 2018. (Erika Richter)
The oversight committee report, based on a 20-month investigation, alleged that Fisher-Price failed to consult adequately with pediatricians or take other important steps to ensure that the rock 'n play design was safe before it was made available to the public and that there were several ignored warnings from international regulators, pediatricians and customers that the product is dangerous.
Weak federal regulation allowed the product to stay in the market for a decade after it was released in 2009, the report said. During that time, the company reported sales of at least $ 200 million.
The report found that more than 50 infant deaths were related to the sleeper.
At the time of publication, "prevailing medical science believed that infants should sleep flat on their backs on a firm surface," the report said. Rock 'n Play puts toddlers at a 30 degree incline.
MORE: New Federal Standard Will Make Baby Sleep Products Safer
According to an analysis by Consumer Reports published just days before the 2019 recall, many of the children who died were younger than 3 months.
The cause of death for some babies was asphyxia or the inability to breathe due to the child's position.
“When I got the Fisher-Price Rock n 'Play Sleeper, I was thinking of nothing but a Fisher-Price product, so it has to be safe, and with so many parents using it and raving about it, it certainly has been adequately tested and it was safe to use, "Richter told GMA. "It never occurred to me that this product, which was called the Fisher-Price Rock n 'Play Sleeper, was in any way unsafe."
"I couldn't think of anything to suggest Emma couldn't use it safely," she said.
PHOTO: Erika Richter's daughter Emma died in August 2018 in a rock 'n play sleeping car. (Erika Richter)
Richter said it was only after Emma's death that she learned of reports of other rock 'n play-related deaths that she heard from news reports and other mothers.
"I think about what life would be like if I had known it and I think about other mothers a lot," she said. "It was very important for me to finally meet some public mothers that I have been waiting for because my heart goes out to them all. We" I'm kind of in this club where nobody wants to be, nobody ever wants to be should."
"It's just so tragic that it had to take so long," added Richter. "I really praise all the other mothers who got in touch and talked about it because that way we can save lives if we talk about it."
MORE: Fisher-Price recalls pacifiers after 4 infant deaths
Richter sees guilt in Fisher-Price's corporate culture and a regulatory issue, but also sees it as a consumer awareness issue and says mothers like her need to "stick together".
"We have to talk about it. And we need mothers who talk to each other and with the families about it," said Richter, who is involved in a lawsuit against Fisher-Price. "We can take that and share that information and save children's lives."
PHOTO: Erika Richter, whose daughter died in a Rock 'n Play sleeper in August 2018, speaks to Good Morning America. (ABC)
Fisher-Price said in a statement to ABC News that there is "nothing more important" to the company than the safety of its products and that its "hearts go out to every family that has suffered a loss."
"The Rock 'n Play Sleeper was designed and developed after extensive research, medical advice, safety analysis, and more than a year of testing and review," said a Fisher-Price spokesman. "It met or exceeded all applicable government standards. As recently as 2017, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed adopting the voluntary ASTM standard for a 30-degree tilt threshold as federal law."
Independent medical and other expert analysis confirmed the sleeper was safe when used according to its directions and warnings, the spokesman said.
On Monday, Fisher-Price recalled his 4-in-1 Rock 'n Glide Pacifier, a model of his baby pacifiers, after four infants who were unrestrained and on their backs were later found dead on their stomachs.
A similar product, the 2-in-1 Soothe 'n Play Glider, has also been recalled. No deaths have been associated with it.
Earlier this month, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved a new federal rule for baby sleep products that will go into effect in 2022. Products must be tested to confirm that the sleeping surface angle is 10 degrees or less and that they meet the CPSC Weighing and Weighing Safety Standard.
Richter said she hoped an independent agency would be set up to advance Fisher-Price's security measures. She also calls on Congress to repeal provision 6B in the Consumer Product Safety Act that she believes allows companies like Fisher-Price to self-regulate about product safety.
"The way the system is set up, the agency that is there to protect consumers [Consumer Product Safety Commission], actually cannot do its job," she said. "Accountability for me is a government, my government, that strengthens and changes that."
Regarding what individuals can do to bring about change, Richter added, "We can certainly act. We can call our elected officials and voice outrage. We have mechanisms to correct the system."
Mom calls for change after little daughter dies in the Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper, which originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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