Back in December 2012, there were reports of over 92 injuries and over 5 deaths related to the use of Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill baby seats. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) became so concerned about the risks posed by the products that it sued the manufacturer, Baby Matters, in order to force a recall.
The CPSC argued that the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill product lines were defective in their design, which is to say that the products create an unacceptably high risk of injury to infants. On June 14, 2013, the parties reached an agreement: Baby Matters would voluntarily recall all of their Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products.
Problems with the Nap Nanny
The Nap Nanny is an infant chair designed to provide a comfortable support platform for infants to sleep on. The product can best be compared to a recliner, a lounge chair, or a sleeper. Unfortunately, the design of the Nap Nanny makes it unsafe for infant use.
The CPSC identified two major risks of injury to infant children from Nap Nanny products: 1) suffocation inside the Nap Nanny sheets, and 2) injury from hanging over or falling off the edge of the Nap Nanny. There is a small space between the crib and the Nap Nanny recliner where infants may become trapped and injured if they hang off the edge or completely fall off the edge, and many of the recent Nap Nappy deaths occurred because of infants getting trapped in this space. The main issue is that Nap Nanny recliners have low sidewalls, which means that it’s fairly easy for an infant to roll over the sidewall and fall off the edge.
What is a Recall?
There are two types of recall: voluntary and mandatory. The process begins when a manufacturer puts out a product but injuries/accidents are frequent enough that a government agency – for example, the FDA or the CPSC – investigates. If the product is defective, the agency might bring a lawsuit to force a recall. Usually, the manufacturer doesn’t want the bad publicity, so instead of going to trial, the manufacturer will issue a voluntary recall, forcing the products off shelves. A mandatory recall occurs when the lawsuit goes to trial and the manufacturer is forced to issue a recall by the court.
The Nap Nanny Recall
The June 14, 2013 recall makes it illegal for any person or business to sell, manufacture, or distribute any Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill recliner/cover in the United States. The CPSC also made a recommendation that all customers who have purchased Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill products dispose of those products immediately, due to continuing safety risks.
If you have purchased a Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill product, please dispose of the product promptly. If you are aware of any persons or businesses selling Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill products, please file a complaint with the CPSC so that they can be taken off shelves.
How Does a Recall Affect Your Product Liability Claim?
If your infant has been injured as a result of Nap Nanny product use, you may be able to sue under the theory of product liability. You can file a product liability lawsuit whenever you have been injured by a defective product. A defective product is any product that presents an unreasonable risk of injury during standard use. A successful product liability suit can allow the injured user to receive compensation for his or her medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. So what does a recall have to do with your product liability lawsuit?
After the recall is decided, notices are sent to buyers, distributors, and even the media. By giving notice of the recall, the manufacturer is trying to protect themselves from product liability claims. For example, if you receive a notice that Nap Nanny products are dangerous and are being recalled, but continue to use Nap Nanny with your infant – and your infant is injured – then Baby Matters would likely argue that it warned you of the dangers, so any risk of injury was taken on by you. Of course, Baby Matters would have to prove that you directly received the notice of recall. This is very difficult to prove. This ‘assumption of risk’ argument depends on state law. In Ohio, for example, taking on the risk of injury will stop you from recovering damages.
With this Nap Nanny recall, the fact that Baby Matters went ahead with a voluntary recall is important – the case never went to trial, so the defectiveness of the product was never actually established in court. This means that evidence of the recall may be less useful than if the recall had been mandatory. Even if the recall had been mandatory, keep in mind that many courts do not allow evidence of recall to prove defectiveness in the lawsuit. Your attorney will have to find out what’s allowed and what will be useful as your case moves forward.
Getting Legal Help
If your infant has been injured by a Nap Nanny or Nap Nanny Chill product, please contact a qualified local attorney. You may have a legitimate product liability case and may be entitled to money damages.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.