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Feds sue Nap Nanny infant-recliner maker

Feds sue Nap Nanny infant-recliner maker

After the deaths of five infants using Nap Nanny infant recliners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission sued the products’ manufacturer in an effort to prevent further tragedy. The recliner was originally recalled in 2010 after the first reported death in a Nap Nanny. On December 5th, the CPSC took the unusual step of filing an administrative complaint due to defects in the products’ design, warnings, and instructions, alleging that the products “create a substantial risk of injury to the public.”

Four of the five children who died were in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved the Chill model. If a child is in a recliner that’s placed in a crib and rolls out, the child could suffocate if his or her face presses up against the crib bumpers. In addition to the reported deaths, the CPSC says it has received more than 70 reports of children falling out of the product.

In the 2010 recall, consumers who owned first-generation models of the recliner were issued an $80 coupon towards the purchase of a second-generation Nap Nanny. Those with second-generation models (the ones associated with four of the five deaths) were told to stop using it until they viewed new product instructions and warnings on the product’s website.

But that was not enough, according to CPSC spokesperson Scott Wolfson, who said, “An adequate corrective action to the safety hazard was not presented by the company, so the CPSC took the rare and serious step of pursuing an administrative complaint against the manufacturer of these products.” Wolfson said the CPSC hopes a judge will rule in its favor, and “that there will be a mandatory recall that would result in a refund for consumers.”

Asked to comment on the CPSC lawsuit, Leslie Gudel, owner of Baby Matters, LLC of Berwyn, Pa., manufacturer of Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill, referred to a statement on her company’s website. “We do not believe the complaint has merit and stand behind the safety of our product when used as instructed,” she stated. “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.”

Child safety advocates, including Consumers Union (the policy arm of Consumer Reports), applauded CPSC’s action. “We are glad to see the CPSC use the full extent of its authorities under the law to protect babies and children,” stated Ami Gadhia, Senior Policy Counsel with Consumers Union. This action, she said, “reminds manufacturers that they must make safety a top priority.”

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a full-size crib with only a mattress and fitted sheet–no bumpers, blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or other items. See our cribs buying guide. Subscribers can see our latest crib Ratings for safe, durable, and easy-to-use models. New cribs are the only sleep environments that have to meet federal safety standards, making them the safest places for babies to sleep. (Play yards must also meet federal safety guidelines. See our Ratings and buying advice.)

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