Two years ago, I wrote a blog post gushing about a product called the Nap Nanny Chill. The tongue-in-cheek endorsement was part of a larger point about how parents become spokespeople for baby brands.
Now, six children have died while using Nap Nanny infant recliners, many major retailers have recalled the products and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents not to use them. We took ours back to Babies ‘R’ Us and got a full refund.
In light of all that, I’m downgrading my recommendation from “definite buy” to “potential infant death trap.”
Here’s the thing. As you could tell from my earlier post, my family had a good experience with the Nap Nanny Chill. Per the product’s super-obvious instructions, we only used it on the floor. We stopped using it as soon as the Champ was learning to sit up, because a child sitting up could easily tip the recliner over.
So it would be easy for me to poo-poo the caregivers who put these things in cribs with too-old kids. But the truth is, even we didn’t follow all the safety procedures all the time. We never had a problem — thank goodness — but there were times when the Nap Nanny may have been too close to our bed or too close to a wall.
Nap Nanny’s user guide does not specify how much clearance to allow on each side. It only says not to put it “on the floor next to other vertical surfaces (e.g.,
walls, dresser).” Reading this gave me the uneasy feeling that the only safe way for a baby to sleep in the Nap Nanny was to place it in the center of an empty room.
People do dumb stuff with baby products all the time. I’ve yelled at my friends — smart people — for things like improper car-seat buckling and Bumbos on the kitchen counter. I can only imagine what kind of danger dumb people put their kids in every day.
That’s why retailers and the federal government hold baby-product manufacturers to a high standard of idiot proof. If most people can’t use a product safely, then it’s not a safe product.
You don’t need a Nap Nanny anyway. One thing I’ve learned with the second kid is that with a little work and patience, babies WILL sleep in their cribs.