The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act


June 06, 2011

As summer approaches and people start taking their covers off of their pools to get ready for summer swimming, it is important to perform a safety check and make sure that your pool and your spa are compliant with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act Law.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was signed into law back on December 19, 2007. This law imposes mandatory federal requirements for suction entrapment avoidance. Since the act was passed, all public pools and spas were required to install new anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices or systems on single blockable drain systems.

Owners of residential pools should have also taken these same precautions. We recommend checking with your pool service provider or your pool manufacturer to ensure that both your swimming pool and your spa is compliant.

Entrapment Accidents

Pool and spa drain covers have suction so powerful that if someone, especially a child, is caught near the drain, it can suck hair, skin, body parts, and even a person's whole body into it. "Drain entrapmentā€ can cause serious injury and even death to any unsuspecting person.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Safe Kids Worldwide state that the records show that from 1985 to 2004 at least 33 children under the age of 14 died from drain entrapment. Nearly 100 children were seriously injured. It is also assumed that many of the deaths go unreported because many deaths attributed to drowning are actually the result of drain entrapment.

Who Is To Blame?

In the Bahamas recently, a man was reportedly killed after becoming trapped in a spa's outlet drain cover. The man was only 33 and was both healthy and fit. He was enjoying a vacation at Sandal's Resort with his wife. He was in the spa and he dunked under the water. The spa's outlet drain cover sucked him in and held him under the surface of the water.

His wife yelled for help when she was unable to free him. Employees were reportedly unable to turn off the suction pump. Other guests did aid the woman and managed to get her husband out of the spa. By the time the paramedics arrived, however, the man was already dead. The family is suing the companies who own the resort with negligence, infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment and product liability.

It cannot be stressed enough that adults who are monitoring children in their pools be aware of these dangers and keep children away from these openings and drains. All pools and spas should have new anti-entrapment drain covers and other secondary devices or systems. If your pool was installed prior to 2009, you need to be sure that you have properly equipped your pool and that it is compliant with the law. It is a good idea to make sure you are compliant even if you installed since that time.  You could be held liable for injuries or a wrongful death due to drain entrapment.

The Georgia swimming pool entrapment attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been helping the victims of swimming pool accidents throughout Atlanta and the state of Georgia since 1984. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.