Kolcraft Recalls Inclined Sleeper Accessories
It's the ninth recall of inclined sleep products for infants
The children’s product manufacturer Kolcraft recalled about 51,000 inclined sleeper accessories sold with two of their bassinets, the Cuddle 'n Care 2-in-1 Bassinet & Incline Sleepers (model number starting with KB063) and the Preferred Position 2-in-1 Bassinet & Incline Sleepers (model number starting with KB061). That's because infants have died in similar inclined products made by other manufacturers, according to an announcement issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission today.
There were no reported incidents or injuries associated with the Kolcraft products, which were sold nationwide at various children’s products retailers from March 2011 through December 2017.
Consumers should immediately stop using the inclined sleeper accessories—sold as inserts for the bassinets—because they increase the risk of suffocation. The CPSC says that consumers can continue to use the bassinets without the accessories.
If you own the product, contact Kolcraft at 800-453-7673 or via email at email@example.com for a $20 refund or a $35 voucher to be used on the company’s website. The voucher expires on Feb. 20, 2022.
The Risk of Inclined Sleepers
Research shows that infant inclined sleep products—which position infants at an angle between 10 and 30 degrees—are not a safe sleep environment for them. The products increase the risk of airway compression, suffocation, and death because they allow a baby's head to slump forward, blocking airflow, and make it easier for a baby to roll over into the sleeper's fabric, interfering with breathing.
The products run counter to the safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which state that babies should be put to bed on their back, alone, unrestrained, and on a firm, flat surface that is free of bumpers and other soft bedding.
Despite the danger of inclined sleepers and the growing list of recalls, other inclined products advertised for sleep or naps remain on the market, including the Baby Delight Nestle Nook Portable Infant Lounger, the Hiccapop DayDreamer Lounger, and the angled napper sold with the Chicco Lullaby Dream Playard, which has been tied to an infant death.
CR asked Chicco why it hasn't recalled its angled napper, but the company hasn't responded.
CR also asked Kolcraft why the recall refund is only $20 and the voucher offer is only $35 (and expires in two years), given that the bassinets retailed for $140.
A spokesperson for Kolcraft said: "We are not offering a refund of the full product value as the recall does not affect the full product. The recall is only on the inclined sleeper accessory and the bassinet can still continue to be used."
Oriene Shin, CR's policy counsel for home and product safety, says this solution doesn't go far enough. "These products are dangerous, and it's critical for manufacturers to do everything they can to get them out of homes. Kolcraft is falling short by offering limited refunds and vouchers instead of the full refunds needed to prompt people to take action."
Sara Thompson, whose son Alex died in a Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper in September 2011, agrees that the recall solution gives parents little incentive to get the product out of their homes. "No doubt many parents bought that bassinet because of the inclined insert and they might have bought a less expensive bassinet if they didn't want that extra accessory, so an offer of $20 or a $35 voucher is not going to encourage people to go to the trouble of sending the product back," Thompson says. "Personally, I'd be even less likely to use the voucher, because it's hard to even find anything on the website for less than $35."
Still, Thompson adds that today's recall is a step in the right direction. "I think all manufacturers of inclined sleepers should follow suit and recall their products so that parents may be alerted, and no other babies can be harmed," she says.
If you decide not to request a refund or voucher because of the recall, don't sell or give away the inclined sleeper accessory. Destroy it so that no one else can use it.
To report an incident linked with these inclined sleep products or any other product, go to SaferProducts.gov or call the CPSC Hotline at 800-638-2772.