Nap Nanny infant recliners can cause serious harm to kids, the federal government said in an administrative complaint filed Wednesday.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission alleged that the new model of the portable baby recliner, called the Chill, and two earlier versions "pose a substantial risk of injury and death to infants."
The commission is seeking an order that would require Nap Nanny maker Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., to notify the public about what the agency deems a serious product defect and offer customers a full refund.
"My heart goes out to the parents and families of children who are injured or lose their lives in incidents associated with consumer products," CPSC commissioner Nancy A. Nord said in a written statement. "Yet not every incident that occurs in the presence of a product was necessarily caused by that product."
The agency said it's aware of 70 reports of children nearly falling out of the products, and five infants who have died.
Baby Matters went out of business a month ago, according to an email from the company. On its website is a message from owner and founder Leslie Gudel that says, "We do not believe the complaint has merit and stand behind the safety of our product when used as instructed."
Gudel adds that "no infant using the Nap Nanny properly has ever suffered an injury requiring medical attention."
Some of the cases involved recliners that were placed in a crib, which the company has urged parents not to do. Guidel pointed out that in these cases the child could suffocate on a crib bumper or blanket, and their product is not to blame. The Nap Nanny should be placed on the floor with the harness secured.
The first two versions of the foam recliner were recalled in July 2010 when the agency was aware of one death and 22 reports of infants hanging out or falling over the side of the Nap Nanny even though most of the infants had been placed in the recliner's harness. Since then, the agency has learned of 4 more deaths. Four are linked to the first versions of the recliner, and one to the newer model.
The Nap Nanny was designed to mimic the curves of a baby car seat, elevating an infant slightly to help reduce reflux, gas, stuffiness or other problems.
Five thousand Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold between 2009 and early 2012. About 100,000 Chill models have been sold since January 2011.
Earlier this year the product safety watchdog made headlines when it filed an administrative complaint