There are children who never should have died. One child had her intestines sucked out of their body. Another nearly drowned after she was held down under water by her hair. Many more suffered serious injuries and nearly drown. Even adults have been injured or have died. All of these incidents taking place at swimming pools and spas throughout the country after the victims became entrapped by suction from a drain at the bottom of a pool or spa.
Singer Usher’s 5-year-old son nearly drowned, Senator James Baker’s 7-year-old granddaughter died and dozens of others throughout the country have found themselves in similar circumstances.
Suction entrapment is the term used to describe how a child or even an adult can get stuck on the bottom of a swimming pool or hot tub.
Indeed, there were 83 incidents of suction entrapment between 1999 and 2008 that resulted in the deaths of 11 people and 69 people were injured, according to the CPSC statistics. However, the actual number of people hurt by drain suction may actually be much higher because drowning reports by police or medical records may not specify the exact cause as drain suction.
Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that roughly 390 children under age 15 are killed annually after drowning or near-drowning in a swimming pool or spa based on statistics compiled between 2008 and 2010.
The majority or 73 percent of fatalities due to submersion for children under 15 years old took place at a private home, not a public swimming pool or spa.
PREVENTION: Virginia Graeme Baker Pool And Spa Safety Act
Nancy Baker‘s 7-year-old daughter Virginia Graeme Baker died in a 2002 hot tub drain accident. The child, who is the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker, had sat on the floor drain in a hot but and was kept down by 700-pounds of suction pressure. Attempts by her mother to pull her daughter up were unsuccessful and the child died in her mother’s arms.
As a result of the Baker child’s death, U.S. Congress established the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool And Spa Safety Act in December 2007. The law set up basic drain safety standards and protections required at public swimming pools and hot tubs throughout the country. It also bans the sale, manufacturer or distribution of drain covers that do not meet standards for anti-entrapment. Roughly 300,000 public facilities were required under the law to cover their drains with larger, rounded covers that prevent suction as well as a backup mechanical system within the drains to prevent suction in pools with a single drain. About half of the pools and hot tubs in the nation feature these dangerous single main drains. The mechanical backup system or required on single-drain pools is designed to trigger a vacuum release if something such as a person or object gets stuck.
One of the reasons for the backup system is the drain covers may eventually rust, break or fall off and expose the dangerous suction problem.
Newer swimming pools and spas typically have dual drains or are equipped with a pump that has a vacuum release system that reduce the suction and potential entrapment. The more dangerous facilities are only single drains and these are the most dangerous.
The law establishes a set of specific rules that pool and spa owners must comply with to avoid being in violation of federal law.
This law has weakened, however, recently after the Consumer Product Safety Commission reinterpreted the language and stated that back-up anti-entrapment systems in public hot tubs and pools are no longer federal requirements.
Parents and Care Givers Left Helpless, Unable to Save Children
- Just months before the passage of the Pool and Spa Safety Act passed, another child Zachary Cohn died after he got trapped in the suction drain in his family’s swimming pool in Greenwich, Conn. Despite efforts by his parents, the 6-year-old died.
- Five-year-old Usher Raymond V, the eldest son of singer Usher, boy became trapped suction in the swimming pool’s drain after reaching for a toy in the backyard of his father’s Atlanta home. Two men who were at the home making a delivery managed to free the child and he was hospitalized.
- In Newton, Kansas, a 12-year old girl named Brittany Manley got her hair stuck in the drain of a hot tub at the local Best Western Red Coach Inn, but was fortunately freed after first responders arrived at the scene. The cause of the incident was there was no cover to prevent entanglement on the hot tub drain.
- Thomas Catog Rozmiarek, died on Nov. 6, 2016, in Encino, California after he was pulled from a backyard spa after being held underwater by suction from an uncovered drain. The spa where the 7-year-old boy died lacked a drain cover and the pump did not have a vacuum release system.
- Abigail Taylor was sitting on a drain in a wading pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club in St. Louis Park when its powerful suction ripped out a portion of her intestinal tract through her rectum on June 29, 2007. Although she survived the incident and underwent a transplant to replace her small bowel, a liver and her pancreas, she died from a cancerous condition common among organ transplant recipients.
Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Attorney
Attorney James Johnson handles all types of cases involving the injury or death of a person due to another person or entity’s negligence. Our law firm has the knowledge and expertise to help victims of preventable water accident such as those involving an unprotected or dangerous drain. The injuries and the risk to life is real and it can happen anywhere whether a person is at a private home, a hotel, a water park or any public swimming facility. If a facilities does not take required preventative steps to safeguard their premises may be held liable for damages suffered by a family. There is no charge to speak with the attorney unless a settlement or verdict is obtained for you. Call us for a FREE CONSULTATION at 800-235-6801.
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