Red Nose shares new safety recommendations for baby rockers and bouncers

Posted in Sleeping.
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Earlier this year Fisher-Price issued a safety warning and then rolled-out a recall on one of their popular baby rockers, after it was revealed that ten babies had died while in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play. The New York Times reported that 4.7 million of the Fisher-Price rockers have been recalled.



Never let babies sleep in rockers or bouncers

Then not not long after the Fisher-Price recall, US company Kids II also posted a recall. This time 700,000 baby rockers have been recalled in the wake of five babies dying in them. 

Locally in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have issued repeated warnings to parents about safety issues with baby rockers/bouncinettes.

Red Nose Australia has also made a public appeal to parents and carers advising them never to allow babies to sleep in a rocker or bouncer.

Listen to Jane Wiggill on Feed Play Love: 

Jane Wiggill is Chief Midwife at Red Nose Australia. Jane spoke to Feed Play Love about these important warnings around baby rocker and bouncer safety.

“Unfortunately there had been quite a number of deaths in the US where parents had put their babies to sleep in these in these rockers and unfortunately had been met with tragedy,” Jane warns.

“So what’s happened now is there’s been a real spotlight put on these devices and really we’re trying to warn parents about the dangers of them.”

Baby in rocker / bouncinette

Safety guidelines for baby rockers, baby seats and bouncinettes

  • Always place your baby in the provided harness.
  • Put the device on a flat floor surface, away from potential hazards, such as stairs and furniture.
  • Stop using the device when your baby starts to roll.
  • Never place the device on a table or other raised surface that could cause your baby to fall.
  • Never carry your baby around in the device in case you trip or fall.
  • Never let your baby fall asleep in a bouncinette or rocker.

Jane says that while lots of infants definitely enjoy these sorts of devices, but that supervision at all times is absolutely vital.

“Supervised play – where a baby can bounce and rock at an inclined position – is quite fun and babies do enjoy it.”

“What’s concerning is that babies can fall asleep in them. They’re designed for comfort … but parents are sort of lulled into this false sense of security where the product looks to be quite safe it looks to be quite comfortable and that you know perhaps it is okay to sleep our babies in them.”

Baby in rocker / bouncinette

Safety over sleep

And it’s not easy to imagine why parents might be letting this happen. Sleep is often a hot commodity when there’s a tiny baby – or small children – in the house and a fractious baby can be a real challenge. It can be tempting to let a baby who has dozed off in one of these device sleep on for a little bit of peace. 

But Jane urges parents to rethink this strategy because babies are at risk – and research coupled with these terrible US deaths categorically prove it.

“What we know through research [is] that the safest way to sleep a baby is flat on their back on a flat firm surface in a cot that meets Australian standards for safety. Rockers and bouncinettes don’t carry Australian safety standards at all.” 

“We’re certainly not saying do not use them,” Jane continues. “They just need to be used for the purpose for which they are intended. That would be obviously for supervised play with you … while you’re interacting with the baby but certainly never ever to be used in a sleeping situation.”

“When the baby’s on an incline there is a greater chance of slipping down and slumping down,” Jane warns. “If if you were to have the baby covered with a blanket or a sheet that they could become overheated underneath.”

Baby in bouncer / rocker

Catastrophic accidents

Small babies’ floppy heads and weaker necks can result in catastrophic accidents.

“If the baby was to find itself with a bit of a head flop or a slump, where you’re occluding the airway on the inside, with the baby in the chin to chest position … it’s the chin to chest sort of slow asphyxiation that we’re talking about.”

If that wasn’t horrible enough to consider, Jane warns that babies are also at risk of injury from rolling over and becoming rapped – or falling out of these devices.

“Babies [are] popped into these rockers and they’re having a great time … and they can slip out of them,” Jean says. “So you know there’s a there’s a big false risk there as well.”

To hear more of Shevonne Hunt’s discussion with Jane and find out more about safe sleeping guidelines, listen to Feed Play Love.


  More great Feed Play Love episodes:

Find more great stories and expert advice in the Feed Play Love podcast. Available in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

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