From Our 2012 Archives
Feds Sue Nap Nanny Maker Over Infant Deaths
Five Infant Deaths Linked to Portable Baby Recliners
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Dec. 6, 2012 -- Federal authorities are taking the makers of the Nap Nanny to court for failing to voluntarily recall its product.
At least five infant deaths and more than 70 complaints of children falling out of the Nap Nanny baby recliner have been reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
In an administrative complaint filed yesterday, the agency says the manufacturer isn't doing enough to warn customers about the risks associated with the product.
The Nap Nanny is a baby recliner designed for sleep, rest, and play. The recliner includes a shaped foam pad with a fabric cover and three-point harness.
The CPSC recalled the Nap Nanny Generation One recliner in July 2010 after the first infant death was reported. At that time, 22 reports of infants hanging or falling out over the side of the Nap Nanny had been reported, even though most of the infants had been placed in the harness.
Since then, the agency says the product's manufacturer, Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., has failed to adequately warn customers of the product's risks.
Nap Nanny Safety Risk at Issue
In the lawsuit, the CPSC says the Nap Nanny Generation One and Two, and Chill model baby recliners, contain defects in the design, warnings, and instructions that pose a substantial risk of death and injury to infants.
The complaint requests that the manufacturer stop selling the products, notify the public of the defect, and offer consumers a full refund.
The CPSC says it took the matter to court after discussions with Baby Matters LLC failed to result in an adequate voluntary recall plan that would address the hazards posed by use of the product in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.
In a statement posted on Nap Nanny's web site, company founder and owner Leslie Gudel says they stand behind the safety of the product when used as instructed.
"The loss of an infant is an unthinkable tragedy, and I am truly heartbroken for the families who have lost a child," Gudel says. "But the fact that infants have died 'while using' the Nap Nanny improperly, such as when used in a crib where the child could suffocate on a crib bumper or a blanket, does not mean our product caused the child's death or is hazardous."
The CPSC says 5,000 Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold between 2009 and early 2012 and have been discontinued. An additional 100,000 Chill models have been sold since January 2011. All were priced around $130.
SOURCES: News release, CPSC. News release, Nap Nanny.