This week Usher’s son suffered a near-drowning in Atlanta and our
thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.
Many people are simply not aware of the dangers that defective swimming
pool, wading pool, spa and hot tub drains have until it is too late, especially
when children are involved. Pool drains can present a “hidden”
hazard of swimming, although they may be easily seen at the bottom of
the pool. The term “main drain” means a submerged suction
outlet typically located at the bottom of a pool, spa or hot tub. It does
not literally drain the pool as a sink drain would, but rather connects
to the pump to allow water to be drawn from the pool, spa or hot tub for
circulation and filtration.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Act was signed into law December 19, 2007, mandating
specific performance requirements for swimming pool and spa drain covers
available for purchase in the United States. Public swimming pools, wading
pools, spas and hot tubs must meet certain requirements for installation
of compliant drain covers to reduce the risk of entrapment. Residential
pools or spas constructed in homes since 2009 should also have these new
covers. This Act prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of suction
outlets and covers that are not properly certified. It requires all public
pools, spas and hot tubs to have equipment intended to prevent death or
injury through entrapment, evisceration or entanglement.
Additionally, pools, spas and hot tubs must include at least one safety
feature, such as:
- Safety vacuum release system
- Suction-limiting vent system
- Gravity drainage system
- Automatic pump shut-off system
- Drain disablement system
Even though the Virginia Graeme Baker Act is currently enforced, there
are still many public pools without the proper safety drain covers. Some
that have the drain covers installed do not have the covers fastened down
correctly, which can lead to serious injury.
The drain causes a vacuum effect, and when the cover is defective, broken,
or simply off of the drain, a child can be held down under water, sustaining
catastrophic injuries or death. Jewelry, loose swimsuit straps, or long
hair can easily become entangled if you get too close to a pool drain
or pump. The three main dangers posed by pool drains are body entrapment,
hair entrapment and evisceration.
The innocent act of swimming in a pool on a hot day can quickly turn dangerous
due to faulty drains and covers. While laws have been in effect to make
pool, spa and hot tub drains safer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC) warns pool owners that the risk still exists. Pool drain safety
is an ongoing concern throughout the United States.
Pool drains can be a serious hazard to adults and children. Children are
at a much greater risk due to their lighter weight, allowing a lesser
force to pull them under. If the accident takes place at a public pool,
spa or hot tub where the federal government has enforced legislation requiring
compliance with certain safety standards, the operator could be held responsible
for negligence. Unfortunately, these federal regulations do not apply
to private residential pools. If a drain accident occurs at a private
residence, the pool owner or manufacturer may still be held accountable
for damages. The legalities and finding the at-fault party or parties
can be very difficult to understand, but with the help of one our experienced
drain accident attorneys in Atlanta, we can find a solution.
If you or your loved one has been injured as a result of drain suction
in a pool, spa or hot tub where the drain was not protected by covers
as required by law, contact an injury attorney at Goldstein & Hayes
today. We have valuable experience with pool cases and have helped countless
clients forced to endure pain and suffering or wrongful death. We will
hold those parties responsible for your loss accountable.