Bassinets are pulled from shelves

Six major retailers are pulling from their shelves Simplicity bassinets linked to the deaths of two babies after a company refused to recall the infant beds.

Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, Big Lots, Target and J.C. Penney have recalled the “close-sleeper/bedside sleeper” because the products pose a strangulation hazard, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall affects 900,000 bassinets.

Last week, a 6-month-old girl from Shawnee, Kan., was strangled when she became trapped between the bassinet's metal bars. Last September, a 4-month-old girl from Noel, Mo., became trapped in the product's metal bars and died.

SFCA Inc., the company that purchased the assets of Reading, Pa.-based Simplicity earlier this year, has refused to recall the products. SFCA maintains that it is not responsible for products previously manufactured by Simplicity.

Rick Locker, a lawyer for SFCA, said the company “is not recalling a product that it did not make and sell.”

He said the agency asked the company whether it was willing to recall the product on a voluntary basis, and the “company said it could not do it.”

CPSC says the Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets have bars spaced farther apart than the 2 3/8 inches allowed under federal crib safety standards. The bars are covered by an adjustable fabric flap, which can fall if not properly attached and allow an infant to slide between the bars.

Julie Vallese, a CPSC spokeswoman, said consumers should return the bassinets to where they were purchased.