Fisher-Price, Mattel Executives Appear At Congressional Hearing

Lawmakers say the companies put profit over safety after dozens of babies died while using the now-recalled Rock N' Play sleeper set.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: The heads of Fisher-Price and parent company Mattel were in the hot seat today during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill.

MAURICE DUBOIS: Lawmakers say the companies put profit over safety after dozens of babies died while using their now recalled Rock N' Play sleeper seat. CBS 2's Debra Alfarone reports from Washington.

ERIKA RICHTER: We trusted a name brand, and we were wrong.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Erika Richter says her baby, Emma, died while using the Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play sleeper. She became emotional during her statement to the House Oversight Committee.

ERIKA RICHTER: Now, this is all I have left to remember my daughter-- her outfit from the hospital, that still smells like her.

DEBRA ALFARONE: A newly released report links dozens of infant deaths to the once popular sleeper in the 10 years it was on the market. Company executives say they're actually investigating as many as 97 deaths. The product was voluntarily recalled in 2019 in the US, though it was banned in Australia, the UK, and Canada nearly a decade before that.

CAROLYN MALONEY: This is a national scandal. It is breathtakingly irresponsible.

DEBRA ALFARONE: The Rock 'N Play sleeper put babies at a 30 degree angle, though leading pediatricians say babies should sleep flat on their backs. The committee report shows that the company had no independent research showing that it was safe for babies to sleep at that angle.

RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI: You only acted because you got caught red handed knowingly selling a dangerous product.

DEBRA ALFARONE: But company executives say they did conduct research, and other factors could be at play.

YNON KREIZ: The phenomenon of SIDS, which is one-- one situation where young babies die suddenly. This is a nightmare for every young parent. In addition, in some cases, babies were not strapped.

DEBRA ALFARONE: Now, the company is recalling all its sleeper products, including the four-in-one Rock N' Glide soother, which has been linked to four infant deaths.

Debra Alfarone, CBS News, Capitol Hill.

MAURICE DUBOIS: About 4.7 million Rock 'N Play sleepers were sold before the recall. Federal lawmakers are pushing for changes to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Act. They say the law as currently written gives companies too much power to police themselves.