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Public swimming pools and hot tubs required to have new anti-drowning drain covers


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12/21/2008
Andrew Kim
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A new law that went into effect recently requires any pool or spa that is publicly used, including municipal pools and those at hotels, private clubs, apartment buildings and community centers to have anti drowning drains installed.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency will focus initially on public baby pools and wading pools specifically designed for small children, as well as in-ground spas that have flat drain grates on the bottom and just one drain system.

The issue received heightened attention after the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker was sucked onto a spa drain in 2002.  She drowned despite efforts to pry her off.

The National Swimming Pool Foundation, a nonprofit group in Colorado Springs, Colorado said about 80 percent of the 300,000 public pools and spas in the United States do not comply with the new rules and may have to close.

Alan Korn, public policy director of the Washington-based nonprofit group Safe Kids Worldwide, said the vast majority of American swimmers don't realize that the bottom of pools and spas and wading pools are a hidden hazard, especially to children.  There have been 33 deaths of children under age 14 between 1985 and 2004 according to his agency.



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