(Video) Pool Drain Cover Safety

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pool drain cover safety

There has been a lot of information written regarding pool drain cover safety. Many people have become trapped on them. The older models are the ones in question, or if they are improperly/poorly fitted. Both children and adults have been injured and even drowned from broken or improperly installed pool drain covers.
In 2008, a Federal Law was passed that required installation of safer pool drain cover models to all public pools and spas. This law was named The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The law is named after a seven-year-old girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the suction from a powerful hot tub drain. Viriginia Graeme Baker was the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. It took 5 years of intense lobbying to get the law passed. There was a lot of resistance from the pool industry, possibly due to the cost to change the shape of the pool drain covers. It eventually became law to install these new dome-shaped drain covers and pump valve releases. The dome shape prevents a child’s body from creating a kind of vacuum seal. The other shape that is popular in many pools now is a long, flat model. It is about four feet long, 6″ to 8″ wide, and flat.
Although the act calls for enforcement of these regulations, there are still many swimming pools and spas that are not in compliance. These are dangerous situations. It is wise to examine the type of drain a pool has prior to swimming, and avoid diving down near it if it is one of the older models. It is especially prudent to keep children from doing the same and never leave them unattended. Always be in the pool with them and stay close.
There have been approximately 50 deaths from faulty pool drain covers since the 1980’s. Some believe there are even more due to non-reporting.

As a swimming pool owner, what steps can I take?

  • If your pool or spa has an unsecure, missing, broken, or older model drain cover, have it replaced with one of the new models.
  • Never let children swim alone. A responsible adult should always be either right with the child, or actively watching. Even adults should never dive down or go near an older model pool drain cover.
  • Make sure your pool or spa is fitted with locking doors and gates to keep out small children and animals when you’re not there. Most new pools have child safety screens that block them from entering the pool.
  • Make sure everyone in your home knows where and how to shut off the pool pump in case of an emergency.
  • Let an industry professional check over your swimming pool and equipment to make sure it it safe.

When you have a safe pool drain cover and/or spa drain cover, you can enjoy your swimming pool and spa with peace of mind. Prevention is the key. For more pool care information check out our blog . Like us on Facebook!

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