Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys
Request a Free Consultation 888.425.6070
Experienced Injury Attorneys Helping the Injured When They Need it Most

Swimming pool, spa and hot tub drain entrapment: The Hidden Dangers

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.