Edina, MN--December 9, 2013- This December marks the five-year anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB). The Act required among other things, that all public pools and spas be fitted with VGB anti-entrapment drain covers, many of which expire after five years of use.

The law requires manufacturers of anti-entrapment drain covers to provide a "life span" for each cover. According to the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association, most of these life spans are set at five years, meaning many of the drains installed when VGB went into effect are now expired and are required by law to be replaced.

The expiration date is required because pool chemicals, UV rays and ordinary wear and tear can break down the plastic and screws. Drains, overtime or past their expiration dates, can become ineffective or easily break, making them a life threatening danger to any child in the pool.

"Orginial compliance with the VGB Act and the Minnesota Abigail Taylor Pool & Spa Safety Act is not enough," said Scott Taylor, father to Abbey Taylor and co-founder of Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation. "Please remind pool and spa operators to check their anti-entrapment drain covers to determine if the drains have expired, because a broken drain is an ineffective, dangerous drain."

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there has not been a single death in a public pool or spa due to entrapment, entanglement or evisceration since VGB went into effect. In order to continue preventing preventable deaths, Abbey's Hope recommends that drain covers be replaced as pools are maintained during the off-season. Public pool and spa operators should replace expired drain covers even if they look fine.

About Abbey’s Hope:
Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained from an improperly maintained pool drain cover.

The foundation’s goal is to:

  • Promote awareness of and education related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.

  • Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of product safety standards related to such products.

  • Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning. 

 

Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at http://abbeyshope.org

The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.


More water safety tips