In a move sure to have long-lasting implications for the
aquatics industry, President George W. Bush has signed the
first-ever federal pool and spa safety legislation.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act passed
as an amendment to a 3,400-page comprehensive energy bill.
It mandates entrapment-proof drain covers and establishes a
grant program where money is given to individual states
when they pass laws addressing drowning and
entrapment prevention. The Consumer Product Safety
Commission will determine which minimum requirements state
legislation must fulfill to qualify.
One addition came after a 6-year-old girl was entrapped
by a drain and eviscerated in a Minnesota golf-club pool.
The amendment states that within a year, all public pools
must have a main-drain cover that complies with ASME/ANSI
A112.19.8. Existing public pools without those drain covers
must be retrofitted.
Public pools with single main drains (other than
unblockable drains) also will need a system designed to
prevent suction entrapment. These include a safety vacuum
release system, suction-limiting vent system, gravity
drainage system, automatic pump shut-off system, drain
disablement or another system determined to be as
?The passage of this legislation means that
fewer children will die from drowning in swimming pools or
spas,? said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.),
who authored the House bill as well as the Florida State
legislation on which the bill is based. ?Three
hundred thirty-five children died in the United States in
2004, and basic pool safety legislation would have
dramatically reduced those childhood
Johnny Johnson, president of the National Drowning
Prevention Alliance in Huntington Beach, Calif., hopes the
law will spur further action.
?It?s wonderful news that we finally
have some federal legislation dealing with drowning
prevention,? Johnson added. ?The
legislation is an extremely important piece of the puzzle,
but it?s only one part of the formula. We hope
people realize that making barriers to pool entry as
stringent as possible will make the greatest difference.
The legislation represented some compromise, and I hope it
will raise awareness and spur further conversation and
action as we continue to raise awareness on the