After five infants die in recliner, maker settles with feds - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

After five infants die in recliner, maker settles with feds

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By Todd Sperry

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The deaths of five infants and dozens of injuries or falls have led federal regulators to stop the sales of a popular baby recliner. On Friday, it was announced that the company had agreed to the government's terms to end further legal proceedings.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it had received numerous reports since 2009 involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including the five deaths.

Four infants died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model, the commission said. There were 92 reports of infants hanging off or falling over the side of the products, including some babies who were restrained in the products' harness, the commission said in a statement.

Parents who continue to use the products are putting their infants at significant risk of injury and death, the commission said.

The products included a design defect, and instructions and warnings were inadequate, the commission said.

The recliners' maker, Baby Matters LLC, agreed to settle the case more than six months after the government initially demanded a recall, the commission said.

Baby Matters is no longer in business, but its owner and founder, Leslie Gudel, continues to object to the recall.

Improper use of the recliners -- such as in a crib, where children could suffocate on a crib bumper or in a blanket -- "does not mean our product caused the child's death or is hazardous," Gudel said a statement on the now-shuttered company's website Friday.

As part of the settlement, the company agreed to keep the website NapNanny.com online for five years, warning parents about the recliners.

In July 2010, Baby Matters and the commission issued a joint recall for the company's Nap Nanny Generation One recliner.

There was one death and 22 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the Nap Nanny regardless of whether parents used the harness as instructed, the commission said.

Despite design improvements, warnings and instructions added to the company's Generation Two model and Nap Nanny Chill recliner, there have been four more fatalities, the commission said.

The Nap Nanny recliner was designed for sleeping, resting and playing, and included a shaped foam base with an inclined indentation for the baby to sit, and a fitted fabric cover with a three-point harness.

Five thousand Nap Nanny Generation One and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold from 2009 to early 2012. One hundred thousand Chill models were sold since January 2011, according to the commission. All were priced at about $130.

Four major retailers -- Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and Toys R Us/Babies R Us -- voluntarily recalled the products.

Details of the settlement can be found at the CPSC's website, http://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Recalls/Recall-Lawsuits/BabyMattersConsentAgreement53113.pdf

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