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Adorable newborn boy sleeping in bouncer chair and dreaming

Facebook Marketplace offers a world of treasures, ranging from rare antiques to your run-of-the-mill everyday products, even more, at unbeatable prices. For many families, Marketplace has been a lifesaver, providing access to much-needed items at a fraction of the cost. But what do you do when your latest Marketplace find results in serious injury or in some cases, death?

Unfortunately, with about 100 infant deaths linked to a product consistently sold on Facebook Marketplace, many families have learned that all that glitters is not gold. In April of 2019, Fisher-Price recalled the once sought-after Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, urging consumers to immediately terminate use of the Rock ‘n Play. Protecting consumers from dangerous products is fortified through consumer regulation and jurisprudence. Following a recall, the Consumer Protection Act of 2008, makes all sales or distribution of recalled items illegal, including continued sale and distribution of the Rock ‘n Play. Despite the recall and continued infant deaths, Facebook Marketplace has been a consistent source for purchasing the Rock ‘n Play. What recourse is there for families who have purchased a dangerous item from secondary sellers like Facebook Marketplace?

Here, in Florida, Florida courts have often imposed an absolute or strict liability in tort upon manufacturers for placing a product on the market knowing that it is to be used without inspection for defects which cause injury to users and consumers. Further finding that manufacturers, by placing potentially dangerous products in the marketplace for use and consumption and by inducement and promotion encouraging the use of these products, thereby undertake a certain and special responsibility toward the consuming public who may be injured by it.

What exactly does that mean for Fisher Price who manufactured the dangerous product, and for Facebook Marketplace who allowed continued sales of product on its platform? On the one hand, it seems clear that Fisher Price would be found strictly liable for the infant deaths/injuries as the party producing the dangerous product. Yet, Facebook Marketplace, as a party facilitating the sales of the dangerous product.

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So, even despite the recalls for these products over the last several years, due to being fatally dangerous to children, the products are still being sold through Facebook marketplace and other third party facilitators of the transactions.

If you or someone you know recently obtained one of these Rock’n Play sleepers for any child, please strongly encourage them to do their research and stop using the product immediately.  Until and unless made safe or replaces with a safe alternative, the product poses a serious and potentially fatal risk to children.  Please spread the word in and effort to promote infant safety when it comes to choosing the right sleeper.

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