The Rock 'n Play Sleeper by Fisher-Price was recalled after reports of infant fatalities occurring while using the product. Picture: Washington Post/Marvin Joseph

Washington - The US is launching an investigation into infant inclined sleepers, the popular bassinet-like products reportedly tied to several baby deaths and the subject of a major recall earlier this year.

Millions of inclined sleepers were sold over the last decade, and many parents swore by the product's ability to get newborns to sleep. The product differs from traditional cribs by allowing babies to sleep at an angle of about 30º.

But in April, Fisher-Price, the product's largest manufacturer, issued a recall in conjunction with the CPSC for 4.7 million units of its Rock 'n Play inclined sleeper after it was associated with more than 30 infant deaths. 

The CPSC said the deaths occurred when babies turned over while unrestrained or "under other circumstances". Another company, Kids II, also recalled its inclined sleeper after it was associated with five deaths.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has opposed inclined sleepers for several years, saying babies should sleep on their backs on flat surfaces.

Fisher-Price followed its recall by also pulling another inclined sleeper accessory, despite no reports of problems, signaling a full retreat from the product category it had once championed.

A third company, Dorel Juvenile Group, last month launched its own recall despite no injuries or deaths, asking consumers to stop using the Eddie Bauer Slumber and Soothe Rock Bassinet and Disney Baby Doze and Dream Bassinet.

The Washington Post