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Pool Safety Code Campaign Requiring Drain Covers Aims to Save Kids' Lives

Posted by Christina B. Farnsworth

May 1, 2015 11:08:52 AM

Weather is warming. Often, one of the first warm weather stories is tragedy. Nearly 400 children in the U.S. under the age of 15 drown in pools and spas every year.

As summer approaches, there is sadly almost always a tragic water-related story.

Perhaps a small child has found a way past a locked door or pool safety gates; perhaps those safety measures are not in place. Sometimes a guardian has been briefly called away. In other, more bizarre incidents, pool equipment itself causes injury or death. Below is the breakout of pool deaths by age. 


The International Code Council (ICC) is partnering with Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) Pool Safely Campaign. Pool Safely, according to the ICC, “is the national public education initiative that raises awareness about drowning prevention and entrapment incidents to save children’s lives in pools and spas.”

Pool Safely recommends that there always be a water watcher who, like the designated driver who does not drink, focuses on watching the children. The watcher should not talk on the phone or text while watching the children swim.

Protective devices such as fences and covers are important. Ladders should be removed.

Door alarms, gate alarms and even alarms that alert when something falls in the water imrpve safety. And everyone from small children to adults should know how to swim.

The safety program has been spurred by the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Act enacted and named for the seven-year-old- granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker III. Virginia Graeme Baker drowned because she was trapped underwater by powerful suction from a spa drain.


ICC CEO Dominic Sims says the child deaths were among the guiding principles in the development of the International Swimming Pool & Spa Code (ISPSC) developed by ICC with the support of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals. ICC says it is the first comprehensive swimming pool and spa code to upgrade safety and VGB Act requirements.

The code regulations require drain covers and grates. They cover outlet configuration and fittings and vacuum release or vented systems. The code also requires barriers to entry for all outdoor residential pools and spas that prevent small children from gaining unsupervised entry.



Association of Pool and Spa Professionals

Pool Safely campaign

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