The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act has finally gone into effect. The new law mandates that all public pools and spas be fitted with a federally approved anti-entrapment drain or grate cover to prevent people from getting caught by the suction and drowning. Children are especially at high risk of suffering a fatal injury when getting caught in a swimming pool, wading pool, or hot tub drain.
The law is named after the granddaughter of former US Secretary of State James Baker. Virginia, 7, drowned in 2002 after she sat on the floor drain of a hot tub. Her mother, Nancy Baker, tried to pull her daughter from the drain but to no avail.
Last March, 6-year-old Abigail Taylor died nearly nine months after the suction from a wading pool drain pulled out part of her intestinal tract. She had to undergo liver, small bowel, and pancreas transplants and suffered complications before her death.
The design of the approved dome shaped drain covers should keep the human body from being suctioned by a pool or hot tub drain. Schools, recreational centers, hotels, health clubs, and apartments are among those affected by the new law. Some pool owners and managers, however, are complaining that drain manufacturers have not been able to keep up with the demand for these federally approved designs, which is making it harder for compliance to occur. Hopefully, these drains should be in place in spas and pools throughout Oregon when the hot weather returns.
Pool Entrapment Accidents
According to Safe Kids USA, about 100 children in the United States sustained serious injuries and at least 33 children younger than 14 died because of entrapment by a pool or spa drain between 1985 and 2004. Serious personal injuries can include body entrapment, massive internal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, drowning, and wrongful death.
If you or your child was seriously injured in a pool entrapment accident, you may have grounds to file an Oregon premises liability claim or products liability lawsuit against the liable party.
New Federal Pool Safety Law to Take Effect, KOHD, December 11, 2008
Pool drain safety covers required today, but supply is backlogged, Sacramento Bee, December 20, 2008
Federal drain law forces pool closings, Boston Herald, January 5, 2008
Related Web Resource:
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (PDF)