WASHINGTON The government is taking action against the makers of a portable baby recliner called the Nap Nanny after five infant deaths.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission filed an administrative complaint Wednesday alleging that the new model of the Nap Nanny, 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 of Berwyn, Pa., to notify the public about what the agency deems a serious product defect. The agency also wants the company to offer consumers a full refund.
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."
"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," says Gudel.
She 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. 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.
In all, the CPSC says it has received over 70 reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners.
The commission filed the complaint after discussions with the company broke down over a recall plan.
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.