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Nap Nanny baby recliner implicated in five infant deaths

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Nap Nanny, baby recliner, deaths, Baby Matters, recall, safety

Baby recliners are popular accessories that can constrain an infant or small child; however, there is a downside. On December 5, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint on Wednesday against a Baby Matters LLC (Berwyn, Pennsylvania) over baby recliners which the CPSC said were involved in five infant deaths.

In a statement, the CPSC said that it decided to lodge the complaint against the manufacturer of Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill recliners because the foam-rubber recliners have defects in “design, warnings, and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants.”

The complaint seeks an order from a federal administrative law court requiring that the firm notify the public of the defect and offer consumers a full refund. To date, four infants have died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved the Chill model. The CPSC noted that it also has more than 70 other reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners, The commission said it acted after talks with Baby Matters failed to come up with a voluntary recall plan that would adequately address the hazard posed by using the recliner in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.

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Under a July 2010 recall, Baby Matters offered an $80 coupon to Generation One owners toward the purchase of a newer model. The company also improved instructions and warnings for owners of the Generation Two. The recliners were priced at about $130. Between 2009 and early 20012, 5,000 Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold. The CPSC noted that both models have been discontinued, the CPSC said. Since January 2011, 100,000 thousand Chill models have been sold.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not have any specific guidelines for baby recliners; however, it does have recommendations to prevent sleep-related deaths. The AAP notes that since it began recommending that all babies should be placed on their backs to sleep in 1992, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) have declined dramatically. However, sleep-related deaths from other causes, including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, have increased. In an updated policy statement and technical report released on April 16, 2012, the AAP noted that it was expanding its guidelines on safe sleep for babies, with additional information for parents on creating a safe environment for their babies to sleep.

The AAP offers the following sleep recommendations:

  • Always place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Always use a firm sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices are not recommended for routine sleep.
  • The baby should sleep in the same room as the parents, but not in the same bed (room-sharing without bed-sharing).
  • Keep soft objects or loose bedding out of the crib. This includes pillows, blankets, and bumper pads.
  • Wedges and positioners should not be used.
  • Pregnant woman should receive regular prenatal care.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • Breastfeeding is recommended.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Avoid covering the infant’s head or overheating.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly (flat heads).

Reference: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission