Robin Aleo, a Colorado mom visiting some relatives in Andover, Mass., climbed to the top of the 6-foot-high Banzai Falls slide for some fun and thrills during a family pool party on July 29, 2006. She started the slide head first, and as she neared the bottom, the slide suddenly deflated, causing her to hit her head on the edge of the pool.
She broke her neck and was so severely paralyzed that she could not breathe. She died the following day at a Boston hospital.
The case prompted an investigation from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which concluded that the slide is unsafe and issued an immediate recall of the product. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Toys R Us, Inc., have agreed to offer full refunds for the 21,000 slides on the market.
The CPSC determined that the slides were defective and could deflate suddenly, allowing the user to crash to the ground. The commission also concluded that the slide can topple in both windy and calm weather.
Aleo’s family sued Toys R Us, Inc., and received $20 million as apart of their settlement.
The CPSC’s findings were bolstered by two other serious incidents involving the slide. One was of a 24-year-old man from Springfield, Mo., who became a quadriplegic after a similar mishap as that with Aleo, and a woman from Allentown, Pa., who fractured her neck after a slide deflation.
The recall is for all Banzai in-ground pool water slides, which have vinyl slides with a blue base, yellow sliding mat and an arch going over the top of the slide. By connecting a hose to the top of the slide, water can be sprayed on its downward slope. The words “Banzai Splash” are printed in a circular blue, orange and white logo that is shaped like a wave and appears on both sides of the slide.
The slides were manufactured in China by Manley Toys, Ltd, and sold exclusively at Wal-Mart and Toys R Us from January 2005 through June 2009 and were priced around $250. They have a barcode number 2675315734 and a model number 15734, but those numbers can only be found on the original packaging an not on the slides themselves.
CPSC is urging anyone who has one of these slides to return them immediately for a full refund. It also warned people not to lulled into a false sense of security just because their slide did not have any malfunctions.
Image Source: CPSC