Aqua-Leisure Industries, a major supplier of kids swim and snow toys to big box retailers, has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle an 11-year dispute with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The penalty agreement has been accepted provisionally by a 4-0 vote of the Commission.

The CPSC accused the Avon, MA company of knowingly failing to report that a leg strap in the seat of baby boats it sold 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 the commission recalled 90,000 “SunSmart” inflatable baby boats after receiving 12 reports of the seats tearing and causing children to fall into the water. No injuries were reported.


After that recall, Aqua-Leisure continued to make different versions of the baby boats, which also became the subject of consumer complaints, the commission said. By late 2008, Aqua-Leisure was aware of at least 24 consumer complaints about its inflatable baby boats since the 2001 recall but did not adequately inform the commission until May 2009, the commission said. The company and the commission recalled about 4 million baby boats – each one sold for between $8 and $15 – during the summer of 2009.

In agreeing to the settlement, Aqua-Leisure denied commission 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, the commission said.