The problem with recalls of unsafe baby products

When an American business voluntarily recalls one of its products, or the government forces it to do so, it’s generally in reaction to reports that the product is unsafe. Sadly, it can take several injuries or even deaths at the hands of a negligently designed or manufactured product before action is taken to remove the danger from the public market.

Sometimes, even that is not enough, and the product continues to harm people. This is especially tragic when infants and children are the ones who get hurt or even killed.

Recalled baby sleeper still in homes

A recent example of a product recall failing to remove a dangerous item from public use is the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper. Fisher-Price recalled the sleepers in 2019 after it was reported that infants could roll onto their stomachs or sides while lying in them, putting them at risk of suffocation. Sadly, at least 32 babies had died this way by 2019, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

But it appears that recall was not effective. The CPSC says that since 2019, at least eight more children have died while using a Rock ‘n Play sleeper, with up to 100 possible victims in total. In January, the agency issued a second recall announcement warning parents not to use the sleepers.

Why are baby product recalls so inconsistent?

The problem with recalling baby products could be what happens to them after the initial owners are done with them. As their children outgrow them, parents tend to sell them, give them to relatives or donate them. This can make it very tough to remove an unsafe product from the market. Also, recall messages often don’t reach parents, who might have no idea they have a potentially deadly product in their home. Thus, parents are often forced to pursue a products liability lawsuit after the fact.

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