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What is the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act?

Virginia Graeme Baker was a seven-year-old girl and granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III. Virginia died after becoming trapped on a hot tub drain. Her mother was unable to free her. She was eventually freed by two men. They had to break the drain cover in order to release the girl. But it was too late. Virginia drowned.

Virginia was a victim of circulation entrapment. Circulation entrapment in Iowa pools occurs when the force of suction from the pool’s circulation pump causes children’s hair or body parts to get stuck to the pool drain. Circulation entrapment can cause drowning, injury, and—in some cases—disembowelment.

In 2007, President Bush signed the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act into law. The law requires that all public pools install anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices to prevent drain entrapment. Between 1999 and 2007, there were 83 reports of drain entrapment accidents, including 11 deaths and 69 injuries. Since the law was passed, there have been 2 drain entrapment fatalities and 32 injuries.

Children age five to nine are most likely to become victims of swimming pool drain entrapment. If you own a pool, installing a drain cover could save a child’s life. Let your children know that pool drains are dangerous. Never allow a child to play on or near a drain, even if it is covered.

If your child is injured in an Iowa swimming pool accident, our Quad City personal injury attorneys are here for you. Please contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham