Tragic infant deaths and investigations have finally forced Amazon and eBay to stop selling incline sleepers on their websites--soon.
Both companies told the Washington Post this week that they will remove all infant incline sleepers from their websites and have added them to their list of banned items. The move comes weeks after the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a warning that all infant incline sleepers should be banned from sale over a faulty design that could kill infants.
In a statement at the end of October, the CPSC said that it had received more than 1,100 complaints from parents about various incline sleepers. Between 2005 and 2019, its investigations found 73 children died while in the incline sleepers.
"The study is part of a growing body of evidence showing that inclined sleepers with higher angles do not provide a safe sleep environment for infants," the CPSC wrote. It added that babies should always sleep "on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet or play yard. Parents and caregivers should never add blankets, pillows or other items to an infant's sleeping environment. Babies should always be placed to sleep on their backs."
Incline sleepers are bassinet-like loungers designed for infants. They have built-in inclines that can elevate a child's head as much as 30 degrees off a flat surface. The CPSC doesn't recommend using any incline of 10 degrees or more.
The study in October followed a host of sleeper recalls, including one earlier this year of a FisherPrice Rock 'n Play Sleeper reported to have caused infant deaths.
Despite that, and even after the CPSC said that all infant sleepers should be banned from use, Amazon and eBay had still carried incline infant sleepers on their websites. They told the Washington Post that they decided to now ban them after seeing the CPSC research from October.
Worse yet, they indicated that it might take some time before incline sleepers are no longer posted in their online stores. In fact, when I searched both sites on Thursday, I found they were still listing incline sleepers for purchase. A simple search on either store shows incline sleepers for sale. (It's also worth noting other retailers also carry incline sleepers and haven't yet announced plans to remove them from their marketplaces.)
"Customer safety is a top priority," an Amazon spokesperson told Inc. "In line with the latest research, Amazon will no longer allow infant inclined sleep products in our store."
Unsafe products is a problem Amazon, especially, has been criticized for in the past.
In April, a study of Amazon's online listings found that the site carried counterfeit toys from China and sold by third-party sellers that could pose a health hazard to children. A subsequent report in August from The Wall Street Journal found more than 4,000 products on Amazon.com that were banned, mislabeled, or not allowed for sale in the U.S. Worst of all, many of those products, which were available to purchase, were toys and other products aimed at children.
Amazon published a blog post in response to the Journal's report at the time. The company didn't deny the findings, but said that it has an "industry-leading safety and compliance program."
"We invest significant resources to protect our customers and have built robust programs designed to ensure products offered for sale in our store are safe and compliant," Amazon added.
Now months later, infant incline sleepers have become the latest cause for concern on Amazon and eBay. And once again, parents need to be informed to keep themselves and their children safe until online stores step up and finally remove these items.