Pool Owners Must Inspect Drain Covers in Order to Prevent Entrapment Accidents

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Commercial pool owners around Missouri must begin inspecting their drain covers as quickly as possible to prevent the risk of entrapment accidents. Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a massive recall of drain covers from around the country. The CPSC recall is linked to shoddy laboratory tests that do not confirm the safety of the drain covers. Missouri premises liability lawyers have been outraged at the poor implementation of a law that is meant to protect children from horrific entrapment accidents.

The law requiring drain covers for all pools, hot tubs and spas in the country is contained in the Virginia Graham Baker Spa Safety Act. The Act is named for Virginia Baker, the granddaughter of former secretary of state James Baker. Virginia died at age 7 in a horrific pool accident in which she was sucked down by the drain of the spa, and pinned to the bottom. Her family spearheaded efforts to prevent repeats of Virginia’s death, and their efforts resulted in the passing of the Act which was signed into law by President Bush in 2008. Among other things, the law required the installation of drain covers that would prevent suction entrapment accidents.

However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission now says that many of the drain covers that were installed after the law was passed, were tested by labs that used faulty procedures. Therefore, the agency has announced a recall of the new drain covers.
Entrapment accidents involving pools and spas are rare, but when these occur, they end in serious injuries or death. A young child who is being sucked down by the tremendous power exerted by a pool drain can be pinned to the bottom of the pool, and drowned. Even in those cases where children have survived such horrific entrapment accidents, they have suffered excruciating injuries that have left them disabled.

This summer, across Missouri and Kansas, children will be using commercial pools including those at hotels, vacation facilities and vacation rentals. Owners of these pools and spas must be aware of the CPSC action, and take steps to ensure that pool drains are safe from entrapment hazards. A property owner who fails to ensure the safety of the pool could be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit.