Juliette’s Story


Juliette died when she twisted over the side of a Nap Nanny and died of positional asphyxiation.

Submitted by her parents, Kristine & Brian

This is the story of our little angel, Juliette Grace. Juliette was our first child; she was the beginning of our family. Juliette was born perfectly healthy on March 1, 2010 and immediately drew you in with her big, beautiful blue eyes. My wife and I couldn’t have been happier. She was a cuddly baby, who loved to be held, and it was obvious that everyone was drawn to her, wanting to hold her. My father, Juliette’s Grandfather “Chuch”, often commented that she was “the most held baby” he had ever seen. We always said Juliette was our social butterfly, as she would happily go to anyone. Her smile and cheerful demeanor warmed everyone’s hearts.

From the beginning, Juliette was a wonderful sleeper. In May, 2010, my wife and I decided to begin transitioning Juliette into her nursery. As new parents we were concerned that if she vomited, while lying flat on her back she could choke[1]. We decided that a crib wedge and a video monitor would provide a degree of comfort during the BIG transition. My wife went to the “Safety” section at Buy Buy Baby where crib safety products were located. Her intent was to purchase a crib wedge, but changed her mind upon seeing the Nap Nanny infant sleep positioner next to the crib wedges. The Nap Nanny appeared “safer” than the crib wedge because it had a safety harness that would hold Juliette “securely in place”.

Each night we placed Juliette to bed in the Nap Nanny, and harnessed her in with an added sense of security. We had read the warnings and decided that an infant of Juliette’s size would not be in danger of falling out of a crib, while “securely harnessed”. In this situation the Nap Nanny did not constitute a “Fall Hazard” as it was stated. What we were not made aware of was that the product had a history of harness failure. Instead of warning against the known harness escape or partial harness escape, the written materials accompanying the Nap Nanny suggested that the product was safe and our baby would be secure.

On the evening of July 8, 2010, I placed Juliette to sleep in the Nap Nanny as we had done every other night, and then went to bed. At approximately 1:00 AM we heard her cry over the audio/video monitor system, I went to her room to soothe her back to sleep, and then went back to bed. Around 2:30 AM I awoke to use to restroom. Upon returning to bed, the noise, or lack thereof from the nursery monitor caught my attention. I quickly tapped the monitor to bring up the video monitoring screen and the image I saw was terrifying. I ran to Juliette’s room and found her partially hanging over the side of the Nap Nanny. Instantly I let out a scream and grabbed her from the Nap Nanny, holding her to my chest. My scream had awoken my wife who at this point entered the room. She grabbed Juliette and attempted CPR, while I dialed 911. In the chaos she decided to run Juliette to the fire station which was four doors down, knowing that it was manned 24 hours a day. Juliette was transferred by ambulance to the hospital and pronounced dead shortly after 3:00 AM.

Our happy life was turned into a nightmare in the dark morning hours of July 9th. Our precious baby girl had silently passed in the night, alone in her crib. For 17 days we waited for our daughter’s autopsy report, living in disbelief, wondering how she could have gotten over the side of the Nap Nanny. We thought she must have had a seizure in order to force her little body to partially escape the harness. Then on July 26th, we awoke to a startling phone call informing us that the Nap Nanny we had been using to protect our daughter was being recalled. Days later we were informed that our daughter, Juliette Grace died of positional/ compression asphyxia due to the hyperextension of her neck.

The CPSC communicated the results of their investigation that identified a number of product defects. Prior to Juliette’s death, the CPSC had been futilely attempting to force a recall of the product. That did not happen until July 26th, a recall that came 17 days too late. By which time my family had already paid the ultimate price. Had we known of the previous injuries and death, we NEVER would have purchased this product.

We miss the world the way it used to be. We miss our image of the future with Juliette in it. The moment Juliette left this earth, our lives changed forever. Family gatherings feel incomplete and holidays have many moments of sadness. Juliette’s little heart stopped beating 3 years, 10 months and 24 days from the time I write this story. Every day we miss her smile, but her story is not over. She lives on, every day, in our hearts and memories. She lives on through us, and in her honor, we must work to make consumer product safety more transparent and proactive, in hopes of preventing another infant death due to an unsafe product.

[1] Lying on her back in a bare safe crib is the safest place for a baby. While parents may worry about choking, it is not any more likely to happen in that position.