$75K lawsuit claims baby recliner lacked proper warning labels

Detroit— A Royal Oak couple who blames the death of their 4-month-old daughter on a portable baby recliner is suing the product’s maker in federal court.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed Friday against the maker of Nap Nanny, which Royal Oak couple Kristine Mako and Brian Thiel had installed in their daughter Juliette’s crib.

Juliette was found hanging from the side of the Nap Nanny with her face lodged between the bumper of her crib and the recliner, according to the lawsuit.

The couple accuses Baby Matters LLC of Berwyn, Pa., of failing to include proper warning labels stating that using the Nap Nanny in a crib is a possible suffocation hazard, according to the lawsuit.
The couple is seeking more than $75,000.

The infant’s death July 9, 2010, prompted the company to announce a voluntary recall of 30,000 Nap Nanny recliners in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The commission and Baby Matters were aware of one other incident in which an infant became entrapped while using the Nap Nanny in a crib, according to a news release. Such use is contrary to product instructions.

The couple alleges two Nap Nanny patents indicate the recliner was designed for use in a crib and the company’s marketing materials promoted such use before March 2010.

In March 2010, the commission responded to consumer complaints by notifying Baby Matters that it was investigating possible Nap Nanny defects, according to the lawsuit.

The investigation included determining whether the defect posed a substantial risk to children.
Baby Matters denied there was any defect, according to the lawsuit.

In May 2010, the consumer commission determined there were defects, according to the lawsuit. Those included a harness that failed to properly secure and restrain infants, who could turn sideways and fall out of the recliner.

According to the lawsuit, the commission found that if the product was used in a crib, and the harness failed, an infant could become trapped and suffocate.

The commission also found the product’s warning labels and instructions failed to state the risks of crib use, according to the lawsuit.

Juliette died of asphyxiation two months later after the commission’s findings and while Baby Matters was negotiating a corrective-action plan, according to the lawsuit.