The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission announced last week that another popular baby product - the Nap Nanny, which offers a soft, slanted surface for babies to sleep on - was being recalled. CPSC reports five infant deaths in the Nap Nanny and the related Chill recliner, and almost 100 reports of problems like babies falling off the product.
Almost immediately, Nap Nanny fans took to Twitter to express their love for the product and regret that it was now on the do-not-use list. Some parents also posted Instagram photos of their babies sleeping peacefully on the recliners.
Despite the product's popularity, even after an earlier recall in 2010 that led to a new warning label and other design changes, the CPSC says consumers should immediately stop using the Nap Nanny, as well as the Nap Nanny Chill version. The company that makes them, Baby Matters, has gone out of business, but major retailers, including Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and Babies R Us, are offering refunds. The CPSC reports that about165,000 of these products were sold (for around $130 each) since 2009. Reselling a recalled product is illegal.
[Read: The Hidden Costs of Pregnancy.]
While the recall of a much-loved product might be frustrating for parents, it can be life-saving for babies. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14, according to a new report, "Child Poverty, Unintentional Injuries and Foodborne Illness," from the Consumer Federation of America. The report also concludes that children in low-income families are at particular risk, a fact it attributes to "deteriorated housing, unsafe housing, lower nutritional status and less parental supervision in one-parent homes."
That's why all Nap Nanny recliners now belong in the trash, even if babies (and parents) love them. The news also serves as a good reminder to check up on other baby products and toys around the house, especially older ones that might have since been recalled. In recent months, the CPSC has recalled products ranging from bath seats to children's dressers. Here are four simple steps you can take today to help keep your family safe:
1. Get to know the CPSC. The commission makes it easy to stay on top of recalls through email. You can sign up for alerts on its website, www.cpsc.gov. The commission also maintains an active Twitter account (@OnSafety). The government website recalls.gov is also useful, and consumers can call the commission at 1-800-638-2772 to ask questions.
2. Keep track of your baby product purchases. Since baby products face recalls so frequently, maintaining a file with receipts that show where and when you made purchases can help you figure out if the product you use is part of a recall and, if it is, how to get a refund or information about correcting the problem.
3. Don't buy used safety products. Certain baby items, including car seats, high chairs and cribs, have faced so many recalls in the last few years that parents should consider buying them new. Car seat standards frequently change, for example, and older models might not adhere to current standards. Also, it's impossible to tell if a used car seat has been in an accident and suffered damage. At the very least, check the models of any used products against the recall lists online to make sure you don't use a product that the government deems to be dangerous.
4. Follow through on other basic child-proofing. The report from the Consumer Federation of America lists drowning, falling, poisoning and burning among the most common causes of unintentional injuries leading to death for children. Parents can reduce the chances of such tragedy with relatively easy safety measures, such as placing dangerous household cleaners out of reach of children, using window locks to prevent falls, never leaving young babies and toddlers unattended while bathing and installing working smoke detectors. For more complete guidance on child-proofing, visit the website www.safekids.org.
The Nap Nanny joins a long list of other popular baby products, including drop-side cribs, sleep positioners and early models of the Bumbo that have since been permanently retired because of safety issues. It might be hard to see some of these products go, but accept that inconvenience is better than keeping dangerous products around the house.