Making Swimming Pools Safer

While many of us have heard of swimming pool accidents involving diving boards, falls, and drowning, the drains in many pools present an unreasonable risk of harm to children. In December of 2007, Congress passed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act to provide basic safety standards for the nation’s public pools. That was good news, but now a recent survey by ABC News has found that the drains of almost 75% of the public pools throughout the country are still not safe. The new law requires all public pools to install the mandated safety devices by December 20th of this year or face fines up to $1.3 million. The safety devices – safety drain covers and shut-off valves – are designed to prevent children from being trapped underwater by the powerful suction of pool filter systems. Small children are especially vulnerable around pool drains with strong suction and inadequate protection systemsHerndon Reston area attorney and “Triathlon Trial Lawyer” Doug Landau suggests that whenever good design or engineering standards can eliminate or greatly reduce the likelihood of permanent injury or death, then failure to adopt or adhere to such standards presents an unreasonable and unacceptable risk of harm.

These devices were available long before the new legislation was passed, but the industry didn’t see fit to install them. In fact, the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals even fought the legislation in Congress. Since it appears from the survey that the industry isn’t taking steps to implement the provisions of the Act, the safety problems will remain at a tremendous number of public pools and spas. Paul Pennington, who is with the Pool Safety Consortium, says that many of the drain covers currently in use are “death traps.” The CPSC should get involved and make sure the existing hazards are cured. Pool safety has to be a top priority for all concerned. Source: ABC News

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