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A design story

HOW A FISHER-PRICE DESIGNER (AND MOM) WAS INSPIRED TO CHANGE HOW BABIES CAN SLEEP.Read on for Linda's story...

When he was born, my son had acid reflux. Trouble breathing, lots of coughing, and it was worse any time he had a cold or congestion. The doctors would say, ‘elevate his head, it will help him breathe.’ So I searched for something that might help him sleep better and ease those breathing issues. We even tried letting him sleep in his car seat (not recommended!).

WHAT ABOUT SOME KIND OF WEDGE?

What else could work? Nothing out there. But I’m a product designer, right? We could create a safe, contained space for babies—with an incline. When we approached the Fisher-Price Safety Committee with this idea, they had … concerns. But they also recognized the need. Our design and engineering team put a lot of thought into the best way to do this. We had to find just the right angle for elevation, and just the right range for rocking motion. Choosing fabrics was key, too—adding mesh on the sides for air flow and comfort.

TESTING, SAMPLING, PRODUCING

We talked to experts, made several prototypes, tested lots of ergonomic variations, learned about all the possible issues. We gave some samples to parents at Fisher-Price to try out. (They wanted to keep them!) Then we did in-home testing, made modifications, and the Rock ‘n Play™ Sleeper finally went to market.

By then my son was way too big for the sleeper, but I was really happy to see other babies benefit!

There’s always time for another story!