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Parents should immediately stop using the products and contact the company for the fix
Infant product manufacturer 4moms has recalled more than 2 million of its swings and rockers, following one infant death and another strangulation injury, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. When the devices are not in use, the restraint straps can dangle below the seats, which poses a strangulation risk for crawling infants.
One 10-month-old baby died from asphyxiation in 2020 after crawling under one of the swings and getting entangled in the strap. Another 10-month old baby who got caught in a similar way in 2018 was freed by his parent, but the baby suffered bruising.
4moms is recalling about 2 million MamaRoo swings and 220,000 RockaRoo rockers that were sold in the U.S., as well as the 60,000 MamaRoo swings and 10,000 RockaRoo rockers that were sold in Canada. Both of the asphyxiation incidents occurred with the MamaRoo swing.
The company is telling consumers who have these swings and rockers in their homes to register for free strap fasteners that will prevent the straps from hanging down below the seats when they are not in use. In the meantime, consumers should immediately stop using these products and keep them away from crawling infants. The CPSC says it has reviewed and approved this remedy for both products.
In response to questions from Consumer Reports, Amie Ley Stanton, a spokesperson from 4moms, said that the infant death occurred in December 2020. She said the company learned about it several months later and promptly alerted the CPSC.
Stanton said that the company supports changes to the standards that govern infant swings and rockers in order to address this kind of risk. Until that happens, Stanton said, “4moms developed its own strap retention improvement and incorporated that design into the newest model of the MamaRoo.”
The newest model of the MamaRoo swing, which launched in July, is not affected by the recall because it has a redesigned restraint strap that the company says will prevent similar risks.
“While we welcome the recall, these incidents are a somber reminder of what can happen when a common hazard, like a loose strap, goes unnoticed until it’s too late,” says Oriene Shin, policy counsel for product safety at CR. “Parents trust companies to anticipate hazards and design products that protect their baby from a wide range of scenarios, including those that might not seem very likely. All manufacturers of infant products need to remain vigilant and take prompt action, at any point in a product’s life cycle, to keep babies safe.”
The CPSC’s incident report about the infant who was injured by a MamaRoo swing shows that the injury occurred in 2018, two years before the death. The parent described the baby crawling into the open space between the base and the seat, where the looped restraint strap was dangling below. “[T]he strap got so tightly twisted around his neck I had to cut the strap to loosen him,” the parent wrote in the report. “He suffered marks and popped blood vessels all the way around his neck…. Very scary and is dangerous if anyone has this product and doesn’t realize the straps underneath can do this.”
“We are deeply saddened by the two incidents that occurred when babies crawled under the seat of unoccupied MamaRoo swings,” says 4moms CEO Gary Waters. “We strongly urge our consumers, retailers, and re-seller partners to implement the strap fastener solution to ensure the complete safety of our products.”
CR previously investigated the risks posed by baby products, including inclined infant sleepers, which were linked to at least 94 infant deaths over 10 years. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act, prompted in part by CR’s investigation, was signed into law in May. The law bans the manufacture and sale of all inclined sleepers and crib bumper pads.
Product recalled: 4moms MamaRoo Baby Swing, versions 1.0 through 4.0 and RockaRoo Baby Rockers.
Sold at: BuyBuy Baby and Target stores nationwide and online at 4moms.com and Amazon from January 2010 through August 2022 for $160 to $250.
Units sold: About 2 million MamaRoo swings and 220,000 RockaRoo rockers that were sold in the U.S., and 60,000 MamaRoo swings and 10,000 RockaRoo rockers that were sold in Canada.
The problem: Both the swing and the rocker have a restraint strap that can dangle below the seats when they are not in use. Crawling infants can get entangled in the straps and asphyxiate. One infant death and one infant injury have been reported.
The fix: Consumers with infants who can crawl should immediately stop using these products and keep the infants away from them. Contact 4moms to register for a free strap fastener that will secure the strap when the swings or rockers are not in use.
How to contact the manufacturer: Contact 4moms at 877-870-7390 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to the company’s website.
To report a dangerous product or product-related injury, go to SaferProducts.gov.
I’m an investigative reporter on CR’s Special Projects team, covering product safety. I’ve previously reported on algorithmic bias, criminal justice, and housing for The Markup and ProPublica. My reporting aims to expose and explain how decisions made by corporations and governments can have wide-reaching and often unintended consequences. Send me tips at email@example.com and on Twitter at @lkirchner, or ask for my Signal number.
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