Summer Infant Inc. announced a voluntary recall of 1.7 million of its audio and video baby monitors in February 2011. Summer Infant is not recalling the monitors themselves; it is providing an additional safe installation guide, two warning labels and an additional set of six cord wall-mounting clips free of charge to consumers who have purchased one of their 22 models of monitors.
The recall is in response to seven infant deaths that have been reported since 2004 as a result of monitor cord strangulation. Two of the deaths involved Summer Infant video monitors. In all cases, the monitors had been placed in or near the crib.
The most recent victim was a 10-month-old baby girl from Washington, D.C., who died in March 2010, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC also received three reports of infants who had become entangled with cords around their necks but were rescued by caregivers. None of the accounts reported serious injuries.
"A baby monitor with a cord should never be placed within 3 feet of a crib or baby's reach," a company representative stated in a press release. "Summer Infant is voluntarily undertaking this safety and awareness campaign to ensure consumers have all the information necessary to keep their baby safe."
The Summer Infant models contain two components: receivers and cameras or audio mikes. Although the receivers for the parent are wireless, some of the cameras or audio mikes that are set up in the baby's room contain an AC adapter cord that plugs into a regular electrical outlet.
The CPSC recommends using a wireless baby monitor. However, if you are using a baby monitor with cords, make sure all cords are out of arms reach of your child. It notes that you should follow these precautions even if your baby is not yet standing or mobile.
Parents should also remove other cords from the reach of young children including the cords on window shades or blinds, wall or crib decorations, or drawstrings from the neck and hood area of children's jackets. These cords also pose a risk of strangulation, the CPSC warns.
TopTenREVIEWS recommends Summer Infant's BestView Handheld Color Video Monitor, Day&Night Handheld Color Video Monitor and the Close2You Cordless audio monitor. Bestview contains a range of flexible functions and design features and delivers a clear, secure transmission. The motorized mount allows you to remotely pan or zoom the lens so that you can keep the camera focused on your baby. It includes an audio visualizer that uses lights to display how loud sounds are, allowing you to mute the sounds while still allowing you to monitor what is happening. The model is also very affordable compared to other similar brands.
Summer Infant's Day&Night model includes sound-activated lights and pan and zoom capabilities like the Bestview model, and it contains an audio-visual output that allows the receiver to be connected to a TV or video recorder. It also supports up to three cameras, which is helpful for families with multiple young children all at a very competitive price.
Close2You is extremely portable and has a long battery life. It features sound-activated lights like its video monitor cousins. Although it is designed to attach directly to the crib, parents should no longer do so when the AC adapter is attached.
Summer Infant is the manufacturer of baby products such as baby bathers, nursery furniture, high chairs, diaper bags, baby swings, as well as sleep monitors. The new safe installation guide the company is distributing includes instructions for table-top or wall mounting to secure the electrical cords. It also recommends not using extension cords.
If you have purchased a Summer Infant video or audio monitor, call (800) 426-8627.