There are few things more precious than an infant child. Parents of a newborn are often captivated by the wonder of a new life and the amazing changes each day brings. While they are beautiful and miraculous, there is no question babies are also hard work. Parents look for products that will help them care for their babies and keep them safe. However, our Panama City product liability law firm knows that sometimes the trust we place in baby products is misplaced, and dangerous baby products lead to injury or even death.
ABC covered the recent recall issued by stores that sold the Nap Nanny, a product advertised as a portable recliner for infants. The Consumer Product Safety Commission ("CPSC") received 70 complaints, including reports of 5 deaths, from consumers who purchased the product. Earlier in December, Amazon.com, Toys R Us/Babies R Us, Best Buy, and Diapers.com all agreed to stop selling the product.
While the Nap Nanny's manufacturer refused to recall the item, the stores took the unusual step of issuing a recall themselves last week, suggesting people stop using the product immediately and offering customers the option of returning the item, which had been priced around $125. Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the CPSC, praised the retailers for the move.
The CPSC estimates that 150,000 Nap Nanny baby recliners have been purchased since it was introduced in 2009. Mom and Philadelphia sportscaster Leslie Gudel created the Nap Nanny and sold it via her company, Baby Matters. According to reports, Baby Matters refused to cooperate with the CPSC in a mandatory recall, and the company contends the product is safe if used as instructed. Gudel says parents improperly placed the product on a table or in a crib, or failed to properly strap the infant into the seat.
Earlier versions of the product were recalled, and it was redesigned after the first reported death in 2010. At that juncture, the company raised the sides and added warnings to the product, and even placed an instructional video online. However, the CPSC says injuries and deaths continued, and they believe the product contains design defects as well as defects in warnings and instructions provided to consumers.
In some instances, babies fell out of the seat and hit their head or suffocated after becoming trapped between the seat and a crib or other item. Others were found dangling from the recliner's straps. News outlets add that many of the reported problems occurred despite use of the harness restraints.
In an unusual move, the CPSC moved to sue Baby Matters last month. The suit seeks to force the company to recall the Nap Nanny. Wolfson notes that many consumers purchased the product from smaller retailers rather than the four large retailers involved in the seller-level recall. Gudel says she was forced to close her company due to the dispute with the CPSC, but she continues to defend the Nap Nanny despite the store- and agency-level actions.
Five babies have been buried and many others injured, reportedly due to the Nap Nanny product. No lawsuit can bring back a lost child or undo a serious injury. However, a products liability claim can provide monetary compensation. This can help with expenses, including the costs associated with a serious injury that may have lifelong consequences. Our Panama City dangerous products law firm can help victims of unsafe goods in Northwest Florida bring a civil claim.
It isn't just about winning monetary compensation. The civil law system encourages accountability. The threat of potential claims can also make a company consider safety upfront, preventing injuries or deaths by making a company consider it as part of their economic calculations. We'd hope safety was a valuable goal in itself. Sadly, some companies need this bottom-line threat in order to make them keep safety a priority. Ultimately, products liability claims actually help prevent product-related injuries.