In December 2007, President Bush signed a law to improve pool and spa safety. The legislation provides incentives for states to adopt comprehensive pool safety laws that will protect children from life-threatening injuries and horrible deaths from dangerous pool & spa drains. The requirements of the law apply to public pools/spas and private member facilities like homeowner associations, cohousing, co-ops and condominiums.

The law is named for the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, who joined Graeme's mother, Nancy Baker, and Safe Kids USA in a three-year advocacy campaign for the legislation. In 2002 at the age of 7, Graeme Baker died in a spa after the powerful suction of a drain entrapped her under water.

Specifically, the law will:

  • Prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of drain covers that do not meet anti-entrapment safety standards established by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The legislation includes a directive for the CPSC to establish a safety standard for anti-entrapment drain covers. This would ensure that all drain covers available in the marketplace would conform to certain safety criteria.
  • Require public pools to incorporate anti-entrapment drain covers and other layers of protection. The legislation requires that each public pool and spa must be equipped with anti-entrapment drain covers and other layers of protection, such as safety vacuum release systems.

All facilities that fit the definition (private home pools and spas are not included) are required to have the new safety equipment in place by December 2008. If your HOA has not installed this safety equipment or verified compliance with the requirements, it should make arrangements to do so immediately.

For the full text of the Act, go to VirginiaGraemeBaker Pool and Spa

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