Check Those Pool Drains
The opening of our neighborhood public pool this past week got me thinking about the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act, which I wrote about a few months back. The bill requires operators of public pools and spas to install drain covers to prevent the suction of the drain from pinning children underwater, among other provisions. It was named for the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker who died in 2002 after she became entrapped by a spa drain.
The bill came close to becoming a casualty of one Senator's crusade against irresponsible spending by Congress, but after some negotiation it was allowed to make its way to the President's desk.
Now, it looks as if it was a good thing that the public didn't have to wait another year for the legislation to become law. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released data showing that between 1999 and 2007 there were 74 reports of incidents involving the kind of entrapment that killed Baker's granddaughter, resulting in 9 deaths and 63 injuries.
Just as disturbing was the finding that the average number of drownings for children under age 5 in pools and spas had increased to a yearly average of 283, up from 267.
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death to children ages one to four.
Full size swimming pools and spas are not the only potential danger zones, according to Consumer Reports, which is also concerned about the safety of inflatable baby pools. They aren't covered by local zoning laws that deal with pool safety.
The CPSC has a public service announcement you can view here and offers the following tips for a safe pool season:
-Since every second counts, always look for a missing child in the pool first. Precious time is often wasted looking for missing children anywhere but in the pool.
-Don't leave toys and floats in the pool that can attract young children and cause them to fall in the water when they reach for the items.
-Inspect pools and spas for missing or broken drain covers.
-Do not allow children in a pool or spa with missing/broken covers. Inserting an arm or leg into the opening can result in powerful suction and total body submersion/drowning.
-For above-ground and inflatable pools with ladders, remove or secure the ladder when the pool is not in use.
-It is important to always be prepared for an emergency by having rescue equipment and a phone near the pool. Parents should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Pool operators have until the end of the year to comply with the new law. But when we hit the public pool this week (we would have gone earlier but for a deficit of swimmy diapers) I plan on checking to see if there is a cover over the drain. If anyone out there does likewise, feel free to let us know what you find.
Happy swimming everyone!
By Annys Shin |
June 3, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Previous: Another Sales Tax Holiday | Next: USDA Rescinds "Raised without Antibiotics" Label from Tyson Chicken
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: RT | June 3, 2008 8:26 AM
Posted by: A pool guy | June 16, 2008 11:23 AM
Posted by: GrinsAndKisses | June 23, 2008 12:56 AM
The comments to this entry are closed.