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The Hidden Dangers Of Pool Drains

Updated: Thursday, August 29 2013, 07:11 AM CDT
On Monday August 5, 2013, a tragic pool drain accident occurred involving the the son of R&B singer, Usher.  Fortunately he survived, but it is a powerful reminder of a hidden danger that claimed the lives of almost 40 children between 2008 and 2012. 

Drain entrapments are often misunderstood.  A drain entrapment occurs when a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool pump's suction, or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair, or limb is caught in a faulty drain.  It can take 450-900 pounds of force to free someone who is stuck, more than even the strongest person might be capable of.  But these types of accidents are preventable with inexpensive and properly installed covers that are readily available. VGB compliant covers have been designed to prevent entrapment of hair, limb, and body.  They are the result of the tragic death of a 7 year old girl who got suctioned to the drain of a hot tub in 2002.  The family of Virginia Graeme Baker successfully rallied for new legislation that would require anti-entrapment drain covers.   It was signed by President Bush into law in December 2007 and requires all public pools to have VGB compliant covers.  Since then, there have been no recorded entrapments in a public pool.  The law however, does not apply to home pools. Texas requires homeowners at the time of sale to disclose whether their pool is VGB compliant.  It's a quick and inexpensive fix that can be performed by any pool professional, and it saves lives.  Each cover is distinctly marked, and says what year it was made and the flow rate it can handle.  A pool owner should also know what to do in case of a drain failure.  Often times, when the main drain or skimmer fails, and all the suction is diverted to the side drain or equalizer line, the suction often exceeds the rating of most covers.  To prevent this, constant upkeep and monitoring of the system must be maintained.  Also, if you ever see a drain cover that is broken or missing, it should immediately be reported to the pool's owner, and the pool should be closed until repairs can be made.   Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for kids under the age of five, but drowning is preventable.  The bottom line: simple steps save lives.   To learn more on how to prevent drain entrapments, visit The Zac Foundation or poolsafely.gov.
To learn more about how to create barriers of protection for your kids visit Colin's Hope.The Hidden Dangers Of Pool Drains


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