Do you have defective products in your home? Your first thought may be no way, but how do you know? Where do you hear about recalled products? Perhaps you see a news story online or on TV, but do you really know? It is not like products magically disappear from your home once they are recalled or deemed defective. This means that many Americans are using unsafe products every day and they may not even be aware.
Sadly, this was the case for new parents in New York. A 3-month-old baby boy was killed in October 2019 after he fell asleep face down in an inclined sleeper made by Kids2. This father tried to wake him up, but the boy died the next day.
His distraught parents had no idea that six months earlier, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the manufacturers had issued recalls for these inclined sleepers. The CPSC even hired an independent doctor to review these products for dangers. The month before the boy died, that doctor had declared that “no inclined sleep products are safe.” He claimed that the design has an increased risk for suffocation because babies can roll over onto their stomachs and do not have the ability to “self-correct.” By that time, millions of these sleepers had been sold to parents.
About 4.7 million Rock ‘n Plays were sold while on the market. Kids2 sold nearly 700,000 inclined sleepers under various names. The Kids2 rocking sleepers and the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play were recalled in April 2019. However, that did not stop the deaths. More than 10 infants had died from the inclined sleepers even after the recalls.
Unfortunately, these products are still in too many homes, and babies continue to be put at risk. The death toll continues to rise, and with these sleepers still available on the secondary market, the recalls were re-announced in January 2023.
The CPSC has had to re-announce recalls of at least 46 products because the original alert did not reach consumers, causing harm to babies. At least 16 children and adults were killed by a different defective product that had been previously recalled, with at least 300 people injured.
This is leaving consumer advocates furious. They claim that the government and the manufacturers need to do more to protect infants and toddlers from dangerous products. The current recall system is flawed. Defective products are still found in American homes. Despite being recalled, many products are for sale on online marketplaces and at garage sales.
While CPSC publicizes recalls on its websites, it does not have the budget to launch campaigns about dangerous products. When a defect is discovered, it is up to the individual companies to decide when and how a recall will be conducted. The CPSC can push them, but they cannot order them to do anything.
The CPSC also cannot dictate what consumers will receive in exchange for returning a defective product. Fisher-Price offered consumers the choice of a potty chair, a Thomas & Friends racetrack, or a stuffed Barney the dinosaur in exchange for the Rock ‘n Play. These are not comparable replacements, considering that that sleeper costs between $50 and $150. The recall announcements do tell consumers to contact the company for a voucher or refund. Kids2 offered a refund for its defective sleepers.
The CPSC reported that during fiscal year 2021, 32% of recalled products had either been returned or the defective part had been corrected. However, it is hard to tell exactly what happens to defective products. For less expensive products, a consumer may hear about a recall and then throw the product away.
But in many cases, defective products end up in garage sales and on Facebook Marketplaces. Rock ‘n Plays still show up for sale there despite the recall. It is illegal to sell a recalled product, even if done unknowingly. Amazon and other online retailers are generally quick to remove recalled items from their websites.
Consumers will go around this by disguising the products. They may intentionally fail to mention specific product names in the description. Instead of using the term “Rock ‘n Play,” they may use the terms “sleepers” or “rockers.”
The parents of the 3-month-old boy killed by the Kids2 sleeper are moving past their grief and now have two daughters. The family sued Kids2 and reached a settlement in 2022.
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Defective products can be found in many homes, as recall notices do not always reach consumers. This can lead to serious injuries and deaths.
There are specific elements you must prove in order to be successful against a manufacturer or supplier of a product. The experienced professionals at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm will help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation by calling (954) 876-4344 or filling out the online form. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.