Along with federal legislation, pool operators in several states now must comply with additional safety laws.
On May 16, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act, named after the 6-year-old Edina, Minn., girl who died from injuries sustained from a pool disembowelment. To prevent entrapment, the law requires all pools (except single-family residential pools) to have unblockable outlets or dual drains, secured according to ASME/ANSI industry standards. For compliance deadlines, visit www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/pools/importantdates abigaitaylorpoolsafetyact.pdf .
?We worked with the Taylor family to figure out what we could do to mirror, or go further than, [the federal legislation]. My sense from working with [industry professionals] is that the biggest impact will be on older pools,? said Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), the original senate bill sponsor.
Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has enacted Ethan?s Law. Named for Ethan Cory, a 6-year-old Joplin, Mo., boy who drowned in July 2007 at the Swimmin? Hole waterpark, the legislation requires that all privately owned, for-profit waterparks carry $1 million in liability insurance. Those found operating without it could face substantial fines.
Previously, only publicly owned pools and waterparks had to carry the insurance. At the time of Ethan?s death, The Swimmin? Hole did not have it, and owners filed for bankruptcy in April, stymieing the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Cory family.
Another legislative effort to improve waterpark safety is under way in California. SB 107, the Wave Pool Safety Act, sponsored by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-San Jose), mandates wave pool operators require all nonswimmers and children under 48 inches tall to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest, provided free. The bill also requires wave-pool lifeguards to follow the 10-20 rule.