Four national retailers have recalled 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners in response to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s report that the products are unsafe and have caused five infants’ deaths.
The Nap Nanny, made by Baby Matters, LLC, supports infants in an elevated position using a contoured foam design, mimicking the curves of a car seat, in hopes that infants will sleep better in the upright position. Three versions of the recliner exist, with the earlier models needing updates and additional warnings to make them safer. The Nap Nanny Generations One and Two and the Nap Nanny Chill are all recalled. At the time the earlier defects were discovered, the manufacturer worked with the CPSC to update their product safely.
The CPSC says it has received numerous reports about the Nap Nanny causing harm to infants, which “pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants,” according to their press release. They cite the deaths of at least five infants and 70 potentially harmful incidents involving babies nearly falling out of the seat.
The retailers include Toys R Us/Babies R Us, Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, and Diapers.com all voluntarily issued the recall at the request of the CPSC.
Usually, a manufacturer works in tandem with the CPSC to recall potentially hazardous products, but the commission’s release says that “the manufacturer is unable or unwilling to participate in the recall.”
Two factors influence Baby Matters’ reluctance to participate in the recall. A message on Nap Nanny’s website by its founder states that the makers “stand behind the safety of our product when used as instructed.” Because the manufacturer refused to comply with the CPSC and recall their product, the CPSC filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of the Nap Nanny, a very unusual step for the commission. This caused the second reason for Baby Matters to be unable to comply: they are no longer in business. The legal fees from the lawsuit brought Baby Matters to bankruptcy, so the only way to return their products is to take them back to retailers participating in the recall.
The founder, Leslie Gudel, continues to stand behind her product because she says the deaths of the infants in the Nap Nanny were as a result of improper usage.
“The loss of an infant is an unthinkable tragedy, and I am truly heartbroken for the families who have lost a child. 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,” Gudel stated. Warning labels on the Nap Nanny tell users never to place it in a crib.
All models, priced around $130, may be returned to the four national retailers in store or online, and each company can be reached about the recall through a toll-free number or web pages they’ve set up in compliance with the CPSC.