Minneapolis, MN – The onset of summer gives pause for caution with regard to pools and spas, given the spate of drownings and near-drownings that are the unfortunate staple of the summer months. The statistics are alarming: an annual average of 283 drowning deaths (averaged out over the years 2003 to 2005), coupled with 2,700 emergency room-treated submersion injuries (2005-2007)—all involving children younger than five.
Pool Accidents Lead to New Legislation
Further, in a ten-year period covering 1997 to 2007 there were 74 reported incidents associated with suction entrapment, including nine deaths and 63 injuries. And those are the reported incidents. It is feared that many times that number go unreported.
Last December the President signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which dictates a federal swimming pool and spa drain cover standard. The Bill is named after the granddaughter of James Baker, the former Secretary of State. Virginia Graeme Baker, known affectionately as ‘Graeme,’ died tragically in June 2002 after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her underwater, and the little girl drowned.
Pool Accident Caused Serious Injury
The injuries suffered by others have been sometimes quite horrific. Exactly one year ago a six-year-old girl was hospitalized in Minneapolis after she inadvertently sat down on an open drain, and a powerful suction pump tore out part of the little girl’s intestinal tract.
The child survived, but a surgeon had to break the news to the family that part of the girl’s intestines had been forever lost, and the little girl faced countless surgical procedures with uncertain results. It is alleged that the pool drain lacked a proper cover.
Will the New Pool Legislation Help?
The Act signed into law last year sets December 19th of this year as the deadline for new guidelines governing swimming pool and spa drain covers, their performance and installation. It is probable that many forward-thinking operators and manufacturers of public swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs may have initiated the changes in advance of the new statutes coming into effect.
Indeed, new drain covers which meet the current standard (as at December 19th, 2008) are now beginning to filter into the marketplace. However, it will be interesting to see what effect the new legislation will have both this summer, in anticipation of the new regulation taking effect, and next summer when the beefed-up guidelines will actually be in force.
Will the number of deaths and injuries drop? Time will tell. It is a foregone conclusion, however that there will be tragic deaths and injuries in the nation’s pools, spas and hot tubs this summer. Many of them will involve suction pumps too robust for a child to free him or herself in the event of entrapment. The lack of a proper drain cover only exacerbates the issue.
Next year, any instances of death or injury in a pool or spa of any kind proving to have improper equipment, will likely result in a wave of litigation in the courts of law.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
When you need a lawyer who will exhaustively investigate your case and make sure that every responsible party is held accountable, contact The Killino Firm, where Keeping America Safe is our primary goal. To speak to one of our attorneys, please call us toll free at 877-875-2927, or contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer via email. We will respond promptly to your inquiry so that you can experience The Killino Firm Difference.