A government agency is taking steps to have a portable baby recliner called the Nap Nanny taken off the shelves after five infant deaths have been linked to the product.
According to ABC News, the Consumer Product Safety Commission filed a complaint Wednesday in an effort to force the manufacturer Baby Matters LLC, to pull its product off store shelves and offer full refunds to their customers.
In addition to the five deaths, the agency is citing 70 complaints about children falling out of the Nap Nanny baby recliner.
While the commission pointed out that they are usually willing to work with manufacturers to recall a dangerous product, the agency suggests that they the makers of the product have refused for five months to pull its product or offer refunds.
"We believe it is a hazardous product and we are concerned about the safety of the children that are in there," Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman Alex Flip told ABC News.
Baby Matters LLC describes the Nap Nanny as an infant recliner designed to increase the baby's comfort.
"We had to take action because of the number of incidences, and that is why we have filed this complaint against the company. They would not agree to a voluntary recall," Flip said.
Nap Nanny manufacturers suggest that no one who has used the product in the correct manor has ever required medical attention.
The controversial product was invented by Philadelphia sportscaster and mother Leslie Gudel. According to ABC Newsm she came up with the concept after learning her daughter would only fall asleep in the car seat.
In a statement posted on Nap Nanny's website, Gudel said she is heartbroken for the families who have lost a child, but says the victims' parents misused her product by either not strapping the baby in or placing the device on a table or in a crib.
Some incidents in which babies were injured involved situations where recliners were placed in a crib – something manufacturers urge parents not to do.
"We do not believe the complaint has merit and stand behind the safety of our product when used as instructed," Gudel wrote in the statement. "The Nap Nanny should be placed on the floor with the harness secured."
In the statement, Gudel alleges that the ongoing battle with the CPSC has cost her company so much money that it was forced to close last month.
"Another small business is gone. Twenty-two Americans are out of work between Nap Nanny and our supplier. This doesn't take into account the financial impact our closure has had on our other U.S. suppliers," Gudel wrote.
The first infant death allegedly associated with the Nap Nanny was reported in 2010. According to ABC News, the incident prompted manufacturers to recall the product that same year and raise the sides of the recliner. The manufacturer also posted warnings and made an instructional video for parents.
According to the April 2010 complaint obtained by ABC News, a six-month old died when she suffocated while using the Generation Two Nap Nanny. The infant was not secured in the harness and the medical examiner ruled the cause of death was positional asphyxia.
In addition, a four-month old died in July 2010 when she suffocated between a Generation Two Nap Nanny and the bumper in her crib. This time, the infant was secured in the harness but it failed to adequately restrain her in the recliner, the news network reports.
Baby Matters LLC is standing by their product, saying they have gone to "great lengths to make the safest product possible."
"No infant using the Nap Nanny properly has ever suffered an injury requiring medical attention," Gudel said in the statement.
Reports indicate that approximately 5,000 Generation One Nap Nanny’s and 50,000 Generation Two models were sold between 2009 and early 2012. About 100,000 Chill models have been sold since January 2011, The Associated Press reports.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.