Legislation Mandating Anti-Child Drowning Drain Covers for Pools Goes Into Effect Friday

Last year, Congress passed The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which requires public pool and hot tub operators (including hotels, clubs, apartment buildings, and community centers) to install new anti-drowning drain covers to prevent drain suction from trapping children under water. The legislation is named after the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker, who was sucked into a spa drain in 2002 and drowned.

Pool and spa operators were given a year to comply. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently issued a release reminding pool and hot tub operators that this Friday, December 19, 2008, is the deadline for installing the new equipment. Pools that do not comply with the Act's requirements risk being shut down by federal or state regulators.

Nancy Nord, acting chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said her agency will focus initially on public baby pools and wading pools where the risk of child entrapment is greatest. She asked state health and enforcement agencies to work with the CPSC to ensure the law is properly enforced.

The National Swimming Pool Foundation estimates that the cost of complying will range from $1,000 to $15,000 per pool, depending on availability of labor and necessary materials.