Bill to Increase Pool and Spa Safety

Bill to Increase Pool and Spa Safety

May 10th 2006, a new federal bill will be introduced to Congress that would provide states with incentive to increase safety requirements to reduce the risk of pool and spa-related personal injuries and deaths.  This bill was prompted, in part, by the death of a top White House official’s granddaughter in a preventable pool accident.  

James A. Baker III—former White House chief of staff, secretary of the treasury, and secretary of state—came out publicly to speak about the death of his granddaughter this week for the first time.  

Four years ago, seven-year-old Graeme was caught by a whirlpool’s drain and drowned.  The force of the drain’s pressure—at least hundreds of pounds—was so great the drain cover cracked as her body was pulled free.  Baker says that while his granddaughter was an excellent swimmer, no amount of skill or her physical strength could have saved her from that dangerous spa drain.    

“The body of a child is no match for the powerful suction of a drain,” contends Martin Eichelberger, a child safety expert.

Mr. Baker believes that Graeme’s death was entirely preventable.  Better safety measures could have spared her life and the lives of others who have died in pool or spa related accidents.  

If approved, the new safety bill would offer states $25 million in incentives to increase mandatory safety requirements for residential and community pools and spas.  

These safety measures include pool fencing, spa drain cap covers, vacuum release mechanisms to prevent people from becoming trapped, and much more.

The incidence of entrapment deaths, which occur when a person cannot pull away from a drain suction or their hair gets caught in the system, could be drastically reduced with increased safety measures.

After car accidents, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children, according to federal statistics.    

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