Aqua-Leisure Agrees to $650,000 Civil Penalty for Failure to Report Defective Baby Boats

Aqua-Leisure Agrees to $650,000 Civil Penalty for Failure to Report Defective Inflatable Baby Boats
Image: Pixabay

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced that Aqua-Leisure Industries has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $650,000 for failing to promptly report a defect with its inflatable baby boats.

The settlement resolves CPSC allegations that Aqua-Leisure knowingly failed to report a defect involving its inflatable baby boats to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law. The leg strap in the seat of baby boats manufactured from August 2002 to July 2008 can tear, causing children to unexpectedly fall into or under the water, posing a risk of drowning.

In 2001, Aqua-Leisure and CPSC conducted a recall of 90,000 "Sun Smart" inflatable baby boats after receiving 12 reports of the seats tearing and causing children to fall into the water. Four children became completely submerged before a caregiver was able to reach them. No injuries were reported.

After the 2001 recall, Aqua-Leisure continued to produce different versions of the inflatable baby boats, which also became the subject of consumer complaints. Between July 2003 and July 2006, Aqua-Leisure became aware of 17 incidents involving inflatable baby boats sold after the 2001 recall in which the seats "fell out," "ripped," "failed," "tore," "split" or "separated," including four incidents in which a baby boat seat ripped, causing children to fall into the water unexpectedly.

By October 31, 2008, Aqua-Leisure was aware of at least 24 consumer complaints regarding several models of inflatable baby boats since the 2001 recall but did not adequately inform the CPSC until May 2009.

Aqua-Leisure and CPSC announced a recall of 4 million inflatable baby boats on July 2, 2009. The baby boats were sold nationwide from December 2002 through June 2009 for between $8 and $15. By the date of the recall, there were 31 reports of the boat seats tearing, causing children to fall into or under the water. No injuries were reported.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributers, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.

In agreeing to the settlement, Aqua-Leisure denies CPSC staff allegations that its inflatable baby boats could create an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, or that Aqua-Leisure violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

Hoping to have a baby? You may be less hopeful when you find out that it will cost almost a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child.According to the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) estimates, it will cost parents $233,610—nearly as much as $14,000 per year---to bring up a child from birth through the age of 17.

A baby's skin is much thinner than that of older children and adults, and it absorbs the active, chemical ingredients in sunscreen more easily. This means that an infant's exposure to the chemicals in sunscreens is much greater, increasing the risk of an allergic reaction or inflammation.

It'll only be a minute, you say. You crack the windows and lock the car leaving your sleeping infant cozy in her car seat. The problem is that it's never just a minute. It's always longer than that and it only takes 10 minutes for your car to heat up to dangerous temperatures—potentially killing or permanently injuring your child.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public to keep these products—which contain the active ingredients tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline, or naphazoline (known as imidazoline derivatives)—out of the reach of children at all times. The products are sold under various brand names such as Visine, Dristan and Mucinex, as well as in generic and store brands.