It’s being reported that in some parts of the country municipal swimming pools are not complying with the new federal law designed to keep children from becoming trapped in drains. Unfortunately, in many instances, there is virtually no one to enforce the law, and that’s inexcusable. Pools in some cities have opened without the required improvements, while others say their drains are safe even though they don’t comply.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act requires public pools to have a certified drain cover for their filtration systems. Enacted in December of 2007, the act was created after the seven-year-old granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker was trapped by the suction from a hot tub drain and died in 2002. The law became effective on Dec. 19, 2008.
As we have reported previously, those entrapped by pool drains sometimes are eviscerated. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, along with state Attorneys General, are authorized to enforce the law. But commission spokeswoman Kathleen Reilly said officials cannot realistically verify that every pool complies. With as many as 900,000 public pools and spas in the U.S. and only 100 field representatives, Ms. Reilly said that task would be “all but impossible.” She conceded that states have shown varying degrees of enforcement.
For example, in Maryland, pools were not allowed to open this summer unless they were in compliance, but Virginia has not aggressively enforced the law. I must admit that I don’t know exactly what’s being done in Alabama. I do know, however, that the new law must be followed and also enforced.
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