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Deaths of Two Infants Prompt Recall of 1.7 Million Corded Baby Monitors

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February 12, 2011

A major manufacturer of baby monitors has issued a recall for 1.7 million of their products because two infants died from strangulation with the electrical cord.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Summer Infant Inc. of Woonsocket, RI has recalled all baby monitor models with electrical cord because they are a strangulation hazard if placed too close to a crib.

Summer Infant and the CPSC received reports of a 10-month-old girl dying of strangulation with the baby monitor cord in March 2010 after reaching the cord due to the camera portion of the monitor placed on top of the crib rail. In November 2010, a six-month-old boy in Conway, SC died from strangulation with the baby monitor cord when the parents placed the camera on the changing table attached to the crib. In another incident in Pittsburg, PA, parents found their 20-month-old boy in the crib with the cord wrapped around his neck because he reached the cord even though the camera mounted on the wall. Parents freed him from the cord without serious injury.

While the baby monitors involved in these incidents were video monitors, Summer Infant is recalling all corded audio and video monitors, affecting more that forty models including handheld, digital, and color video monitors.

According to a CPSC Safety Alert, seven children have died since 2002 from strangulation in baby monitor cords. Two of the deaths occurred with Summer Infant products. The agency urges parents to:

• Check immediately the location of corded monitors, including those mounted on the wall, to make sure cords are out of arm’s reach of their child.

• Place cords more than three feet away from any part of the crib, bassinet, play yard, or other safe sleep environment.

• Check the location of the monitor periodically, as what is within arm’s reach to a baby will change as the baby grows.

• If a movement monitor is used, make sure the sensor cords are taut and not dangling to reduce the strangulation hazard. The manufacturer’s instructions should show parents how to handle these cords.

“This consumer safety alert and awareness campaign is aimed at educating consumers of potential strangulation issues with electric cords in the nursery when placed too close to a crib, bassinet, play yard or other safe sleep environment,” the Summer Infant website said. “As a part of this campaign, Summer Infant is providing a Safe Installation Guide and a cord Warning Label to consumers free of charge. Summer Infant would like to point out that a baby monitor with cord should NEVER be placed within three feet of a crib or baby’s reach. Baby monitor cameras can be safely placed away from the crib and still operate as intended – to monitor a child while sleeping.”

Consumers may have purchased these monitors between January 2003 and February 2011 at major retailers, mass merchandisers and juvenile products stores nationwide for between $60 and $300. They can identify the corded baby monitors affected by the recall by the Summer name on the product.

Consumers with these recalled baby monitors should contact Summer Infant toll-free at (800) 426-8627. Summer Infant will send owners new permanent electric cord warning labels about the strangulation risk and revised instructions about how to safely mount camera and keep cords out of child’s reach.