Heads Of Fisher Price Take The Hot Seat On Capitol Hill

A House committee says the child product manufacturers knowingly put profit over people's safety, after dozens of babies died while using their now-recalled Rock 'n Play sleeper seat.

Video Transcript

- All new at 5:30, the heads of Fisher Price and parent company Mattel took the hot seat today on Capitol Hill.

- A House committee says the child-product manufacturers knowingly put profit over people's safety after dozens of babies died while using their now-recalled Rock 'n Play Sleeper set. CBS4's Debra Alfarone has more 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. And 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.

YMON KREIZ: The phenomenon of SIDS, which is 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.

- 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.