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CPSC Members Propose New Safety Rules for Baby Rockers After Deaths

Over the past 10 years, rockers have been linked to 11 deaths and 88 injuries. Learn what rules and changes federal regulators hope to put in place to ensure rockers are safe for babies.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published September 14, 2023
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Image: Dusan Petkovic | Shutterstock

The first rules and regulations for infant rockers may be in the works following 11 deaths and 88 injuries associated with the products over the past 10 years. Federal staff members from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sent a proposal, obtained by NBC News, recommending safety changes and new rules to commissioners on September 12.

Infant rockers are reclined seats designed to soothe babies by gently rocking them back and forth manually or with a motor. While intended to be used only under supervision and never for sleep, the rockers can pose a serious risk of suffocation when the baby is left alone or dozes off. The rockers are also prone to tipping over if not placed on flat, solid surfaces, causing infants to topple over and potentially injure themselves.

The CPSC proposal recommends a few changes to infant rockers to combat the safety issues inherent with these products. First up, the proposal suggests that many rockers be redesigned and mandated to be flatter and firmer to mitigate the risk of suffocation. Secondly, they would require rockers to pass stability and other safety tests to prevent strangulation from hanging straps.

In conjunction with these changes, the new rules would require prominent warning labels to address rockers’ dangers and urge parents not to let baby sleep in the rocker or to put soft, loose bedding in the rocker.

The staff report expects that over half a million rockers are sold each year, and it would cost manufacturing companies around $80,000 to redesign each model if it’s not up to the new standards. CPSC’s four commissioners will meet on October 4 to discuss and vote on whether they would like to adopt the recommendations. The next step would be a public comment process before the rules are finalized, which could take months or years.

This isn’t the first time the CPSC has addressed issues with baby rockers. In August 2022, the organization worked with 4Moms on the recall of their MamaRoo and RockaRoo Infant Swings and Rockers after 4Moms identified an issue with its restraint straps which can hang loose below the seat when the swing or rocker isn’t in use, posing an entanglement and strangulation hazard. Two reports of babies becoming entangled in the straps were reported, but no other injuries or deaths.

After recalling Kids2 and Fisher-Price’s rocking sleepers in 2019, the CPSC issued a second recall of the items urging parents to throw the items away and not buy them from secondhand markets like Facebook marketplace. Fifteen deaths have been associated with the rocking sleepers since 2012.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies remain supervised and awake for the duration of their time in a rocker. When it comes to baby sleep, a flat, bare surface free of loose bedding or items is best! Review the AAP’s latest safe sleep updates here.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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