After 5 Deaths, Stores Recall Nap Nanny Recliners News

The company that makes the Nap Nanny - a device marketed as a portable recliner for infants to sleep on - has refused to recall the product, even after the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 70 complaints, including 5 deaths. So now, in an unusual move, four major retailers have announced they will recall the Nap Nanny themselves., Buy Buy Baby, and Toys "R" Us/Babies "R" Us had already agreed earlier this month to stop selling the product. Now they are offering customers a chance to return the Nap Nanny.

On its website, Toys "R" Us said, "Consumers should stop using this product immediately and return the product to your nearest Toys 'R' Us/Babies 'R' Us for a refund or store credit."

The devices sold for around $125.

CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson praised the companies.

"The retailers were great. They were not obligated to carry out this recall," he said. It's estimated that 150,000 of the Nap Nanny have been purchased since the product came on the market in 2009.

The Nap Nanny was created by mom and Philadelphia sportscaster Leslie Gudel, who sold it through her company, Baby Matters. CPSC said it had been negotiating with Baby Matters for a mandatory recall, but Gudel refused to go along, contending the product is safe.

In email, Gudel told ABC News, "Baby Matters is disappointed to hear that four retailers have chosen to voluntarily recall the Nap Nanny. As I've said before, the loss of an infant is an unthinkable tragedy, and I am truly heartbroken for the families who have lost a child. But when the Nap Nanny has been used properly, no infant has ever suffered an injury requiring medical attention."

Gudel said parents have misused the product by placing the device on a table or in a crib, or not strapping in the infant. Initial versions of the Nap Nanny were recalled and redesigned in 2010 after the first reported infant death. The sides were raised, warnings adding, and an instructional video was added to the website.

The CPSC said, however, injuries and deaths continued. The agency believes that the Nap Nanny contains defects in design, warning and instruction, "which pose a substantial risk of injury or death to infants."

This month, CPSC took the rare step of suing Baby Matters to force a recall. That lawsuit continues, said the agency.

Spokesman Wolfson told ABC News, "Many smaller mom and pop stores also sold the Nap Nanny, so our lawsuit will continue. CPSC staff is seeking for Baby Matters to provide consumers with a refund of the cost of the Nap Nanny."

Meantime, Gudel shut down her company because, she said, it couldn't afford to continue the fight with the CPSC. She continued to defend the product and told ABC News in her email, "We look forward to presenting our case before a judge who will hear all of the facts."

CPSC however, is urging consumers to return the Nap Nanny if they bought it from one of the retailers now voluntarily recalling the product.