When looking for an affordable sleeping option for newborns, many first time parents hear that the Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play (RNP) is great for use as a bassinet. But is it? In recent years, there have been quite a few recalls on the RNP, but this fact has left die-hard RNP fans undeterred. I’ve encountered parents who swear by the RNP and witnessed firsthand their cult-like obsession with pushing the product on new moms and dads.
The huge problem with the RNP cult following is that they’re uninformed (or willfully ignorant) about the dangers of the RNP as an overnight sleeping device. Leaving newborns and infants to sleep on an incline, unless specifically advised to do so by your pediatrician, is very risky. Although RNP fans insist that the incline is a benign design, research has shown that newborns and infants should be lying flat on their backs, with no incline, to reduce the risk of SIDS. The only time an incline is advised is in severe cases where a newborn or infant has digestive issues that warrant the need to be inclined, thus reducing their own personal risk of choking on vomit or decreasing reflux symptoms. There have been many pediatricians who have advised against using anything other than a bassinet or crib with a firm, flat surface for sleeping.
Natasha Burgert, MD wrote a fantastic article in 2012 on why Fisher Price needed to stop marketing the RNP as a great option for overnight sleep. Burgert is a pediatrician who cites the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics in her article. Burgert also explains how the RNP can cause physical deformities such as a flat head.
Although all the research from AAP, pediatricians speaking out against the RNP, the recalls imposed by the US federal government, and the fact that Canada has banned sales of the RNP has no effect on diehard RNP fanatics.
Above is a collection of comments from a couple BabyCenter Community discussions about the RNP. Those who are fans of the RNP seem to be anti-information and stubbornly against AAP guidelines and actual research. Despite the AAPs guidelines for infant sleep being easy to find, these parents insist they know better than the experts (board certified pediatricians) when it comes to where their babies should sleep. Suggesting a specific model of the RNP with more padding and a softer surface, in fact, makes the RNP even more dangerous than just the incline alone. It seems that some of the RNP fans have read the warnings and disregard current research. It’s scary and sad that these parents and parents-to-be would knowingly put their child at risk just to get some more sleep. Fact: most infants/newborns do not sleep through the night. Fact: most infants/newborns wake up several times throughout the night. Fact: most infants/newborns wake when they’re hungry and need to be fed. Fact: SIDS is real and increasing your baby’s risk for SIDS is a serious issue.
I firmly believe the RNP should be taken off the market because it has been proven to cause deformities and its very design increases the risk of SIDS. Fisher Price will continue marketing and selling the RNP as long as consumers will buy it, but with the RNP being such a dangerous device (and parents clearly ignoring all the research) I believe the US should follow Canada’s lead and take the RNP off the shelves. Bottom line: don’t buy a RNP because the potential reward (an infant sleeping through the night) is not worth the risk.
1. “Fisher Price Recalls to Inspect Rock ‘n Play Infant Sleepers Due to Risk of Exposure to Mold.” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. <http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Fisher-Price-Recalls-to-Inspect-Rock-N-Play-Infant-Sleepers-Due-to-Risk-of-Exposure-to-Mold/>
2. “Dear Fisher Price.” KC Kids Doc; Doctor Natasha. <http://kckidsdoc.com/dear-fisher-price.html>
3. “Reduce the Risk of SIDS.” healthychildren.org <http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx>
4. “Sudden Infant Deaths in Sitting Devices.” National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=.%20Côté%20A%2C%20Bairam%20A%2C%20Deschenes%20M%2C%20Hatzakis%20G.%20Sudden%20infant%20deaths%20in%20sitting%20devices.%20Arch%20Dis%20Child.%202008%3B93(5)%3A384%20–389>
5. “AAP Expands Guidelines for Infant Sleep Safety and SIDS Risk Reduction.” American Academy of Pediatrics. <http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Expands-Guidelines-for-Infant-Sleep-Safety-and-SIDS-Risk-Reduction.aspx>