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Baby Recliner Recalled, Sued After Five Infant Deaths


It took the death of five infantsBy John Markos O'Neill from San Francisco, California (tiptoes) but major U.S. stores have finally recalled a popular baby recliner more than two years after infant deaths and injuries were first reported.

Buy Buy Baby and Toys R Us are taking 150,000 Nap Nanny recliners off store shelves, reports CNN.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a complaint earlier in December citing a defective product and inadequate warning label after the infant deaths and injuries.

There have been 92 infants injured by falling out or hanging from the Nap Nanny even though they had the harness secured.

Baby Matters of Berwyn, Pennsylvania makes Nap Nanny Generations One and Two and the Chill model and told CNN in an e-mail it still believes in its product.

The federal CPSC said the company was “unable or unwilling to participate in the recall.”

The problem at least partially rests with the false advertising that accompanied the product. Advertised as providing a full night’s sleep for infants, images showed a sleeping infant in the recliner with a tagline, “Everybody Sleeps” and “Better than a bassinet, more effective than a wedge,” urging consumers to use the product as a traditional sleep method.

To most parents and caregivers that implies a crib. At the same time the instructions, which appear in 6-point font on a label affixed to the bottom of the product, tells caregivers not to put the products in a crib or on a tabletop because of the possibility the child could fall or be asphyxiated.

That is exactly what happened.

On or about April 17, 2010, a six-month-old infant girl suffocated when she slipped out of her Generation Two model and was found between the Nap Nanny and crib bumper. She was not harnessed in.

On or about July 9, 2010, a four-month-old girl suffocated between a Nap Nanny with her neck extended and head tilted back pressed against the bumper pad of her crib. She was harnessed in but it failed to restrain her in the seat.

By July 2010 the instruction label was changed to say always use the product on the floor never a crib, always secure buckles on the harness and never use the product with an infant under 8 pounds.

As is usual, the new warning label did not address the products already in circulation or those on the retailers’ shelves. Instead a sticker was put on the plastic bag covering the product directing consumers to a website that had the revised warnings.

Clearly that wasn’t adequate. There were three additional infant fatalities along with 70 other incidents of children coming close to falling out of the product.

The federal complaint says the recliner products are defective because in the case of Generation One, the fabric cover is the only thing that secures the harness straps, not the foam seat base. Since the fabric can move freely it provides little security to an infant who may move in the seat. Additionally, the harness straps easily slid through the buckles when the infant moved, according to the complaint.

The Generation Two involved two harness straps also sewn to the fabric but also secured with a Velcro tabs and two “D” shaped rings embedded in the foam base that come loose as the child moves, says the federal agency.

The third point of the harness that went through the infant’s legs was sewn to the fabric alone.

The federal agency said the warnings and instructions are “inadequate and defective because they do not and cannot effectively communicate to parents and caregivers the hazard associated with the Subject Products if the harness is not used or is not snugly secured around the infant.”

And because parents continued to use the products in cribs, the CPSC said the instructing “do not convey the gravity of the consequences of non-compliance.”

The CPSC complaint requires the company to notify the public and offer consumers a full refund.

About 5,000 units of Generation One, 50,000 units of Generation Two and 100,000 units of Chill were sold to U.S. consumers at a retail price of $130.

By November 2012, Baby Matters LLC reported on its website it had closed its doors and directed consumers to seek relief from retail outlets.

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