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Hands-on Gear Review
Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable Review
Price: $80 List
Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, portable, included mirror and toy, optional rocker
Cons: Sub-par materials, lining doesn't remove for cleaning
Bottom line: Inexpensive with included bells and whistles but quality lacking
The Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable bassinet is a standard product that has a few extra features that, while they do not enhance the quality of the product, may enhance its versatility and comfort for your baby. It comes in at a low price point but we also had some concerns about the safety of the materials used in construction. For details, read below under Health and Safety to see what we found.
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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
Fisher-Price is one of the oldest toy companies that still competes in the baby market today. Back in the 1930s, Herm Fisher began the company with the idea that toys should, "appeal to the imagination," and, "do something new and surprising and funny." Most people do not realize that Fisher-Price was also the brain child of a third key player, Helen Schelle, whose name was not branded onto the famous company like her two male counterparts. Regardless, the three set out with the mission to design products that made parenting easier and babies happier, or as they put it on their website, "all the stuff that makes baby showers worth having."
More than the others we tested, the Rock 'n Play is certainly designed with your child's entertainment in-mind, in line with their company philosophy. The gender-neutral design includes a cute animal theme, includes a mirror and a toy, and has an optional rocking feature that will gently rock to your baby's movements. It folds up nice and flat, although still fairly large, but should fit in most cars and store nicely while not in use. This unit fell behind based on many of our findings, along with being short on visual appeal, and the lack of effort to use high-standard materials, as did the BabyBjörn Cradle whose materials met the very stringent Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. However, on a very tight budget it does serve its structural purpose and may be entertaining to your baby.
Health and Safety
At BabyGearLab, we know that safety is your primary concern, and this unit scored lower than average on our safety metric for a few reasons, which, for a first-time buyer, may not be obvious concerns. Primarily, we were concerned that the materials that comprise the mattress may contain flame retardants, and our attempts to contact Fisher-Price were returned with confusing responses that did not answer our questions, and so we feel it is likely safe to assume they do. Also, although the plush toy attaches with a plastic carabiner to the side of the bed, it should be noted that no loose toys should ever be left inside a child's sleeping area, as they pose a suffocation risk for infants. We encourage you to read more about infant sleep safety, and BabyGearLab founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier wrote an article that discusses How To Protect Your Infant from SIDS and Other Sleep Related Deaths.
Ease of Use
This product scored higher than average for ease of use, because it seemed to include all of the basic features that make a product like this convenient to have in the first place: it is lightweight, portable, and it rocks. While the extra features are not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, overall, the whole thing is perfectly functional. The mattress is machine washable, however there is no way to remove the lining, which must be spot-cleaned.
It folds by pulling up on two levers located on the feet, and removing the frame. Once removed and flattened, it stands tall and thin for easy storing or transporting. It is lightweight and easy to lift, but large enough that it may be easier to fold it up before moving it around from room to room.
Despite its convenient extra features, it pales in comparison to the others we rated in regards to quality. The quality of the materials used is uncertain at best, and finding more information about this proved difficult. By all means, in paying a lower price, you inevitably sacrifice the high quality that is available in others.
Ease of Setup
This was among one of the easiest to set up out of the box. Simply push the feet into the receivers and it is ready for use.
The Fisher-Price Deluxe serves many purposes well, and would be a nice additional place for baby to sleep. It is lightweight enough to move from room to room if needed so mom and dad can keep baby nearby, or it could also serve as a primary sleeping space for baby until she is ready for a full-size crib. Additionally, since it easily folds up and should fit in most cars, we consider it highly transportable and think it would be an adequate piece of gear for a family who is on the go regularly and don't need something that is overly durable. More so than others we tested, this product provides developmental opportunity for baby, by way of the included mirror and plush toy.
Though very inexpensive compared to our other full-sized units, is a good example of the expression, "you get what you pay for." In the end, we found that the fact that new babies spend so much time sleeping meant that the materials used (i.e. the sleeping environment) are more important than the potential entertainment the bassinet provides, and so, the attractive price tag did not sway us in this case.
Due to its price, we are not surprised that this is one of the leading bassinets on the market. It's tempting to not spend a lot for a piece of equipment that isn't intended to be used for a very long time, but when considering how important it is to keep your baby away from potentially dangerous chemicals, we were turned off by Fisher-Price's vague responses to our inquiries that did not provide the thorough information we were looking for. Still, although it may not cater to the style of most adults, and it may not be the best quality, it certainly gets the job done structurally well enough without breaking the bank.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: January 25, 2015
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