Nap Nanny Lawsuit Filed by CPSC to Force Recall Following Infant Deaths

Federal safety regulators have filed a lawsuit seeking to force a recall of Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill baby recliners, following at least five infant deaths that may have been caused by the dangerous design of the baby beds. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against Baby Matters, LLC (PDF) on December 5, seeking to force a Nap Nanny recall that would notify the public, every distributor and every customer who purchased the recliners that they pose an unreasonable danger.

A first generation of Nap Nanny recliners was recalled in July 2010, after the commission became aware of the death of an infant and 22 reports of infants hanging or falling out of the Nap Nanny, despite the use of a built-in three point harness.

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After the recall, Baby Matters released a second-generation version with more warnings and instructions, as well as the Chill version. However, according to a CPSC press release issued this week, at least five additional deaths and 70 incident reports have been linked to the newer products, leading the agency to determine that the warnings and instructions fail to make baby bed safe.

The forced recall would affect an estimated 55,000 generation one and two Nap Nannys, and about 100,000 Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners. The Nap Nanny recliners are portable shaped foam beds with an inclined indentation in which to place a baby. It has a fitted fabric cover and a three point harness.

The administrative complaint calls for Baby Matters to issue a public notice that the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners are defective and dangerous. It also requires the company to send a notice by mail to all distributors and consumers who received the recliners.

The company would also be required to refund fully every customer who purchased a recalled infant recliner and provide the CPSC with monthly reports of its progress in reaching all customers.

Commissioner Says Complaints Need Legal Vetting

The vote to approve the administrative complaint was unanimous, but Commissioner Nancy A. Nord issued a statement (PDF) indicating that she voted for the complaint in order to see the administrative complaint process go through the legal system and become more clear.

“I joined my colleagues in voting to issue the complaint because I believe that the legal theory described in the complaint concerning the reasonably foreseeable misuse of Baby Matters’ products deserves a thorough vetting by an administrative law judge,” Commissioner Nord wrote. “This concept remains nebulous and incompletely defined even as the agency has dealt with it over the years.”

This is only the fourth CPSC administrative complaint in 11 years, with two of the other complaints occurring in August against the makers of Zen Magnets and Buckyballs, which are magnetic desk toys that the CPSC has determined pose an unreasonable danger for children and teens, who may suffer catastrophic injuries if they swallow more than one of the small magnetic balls contained in the sets.


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