Safety Advocates and Parents of Kids Killed In Pool Drain Accidents Renew Pressure on Feds To Strengthen Safety Law

"I was disappointed that the CPSC ruled against requiring layers of protection," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz, who introduced and pushed for the passage of the Pool Safety Act. "This ruling leaves children's lives only as safe as the first layer of protection, which leaves them vulnerable to human error and mechanical failure, with no further layer of protection."

The CPSC's decision even went against the position of Chairman Tenenbaum. "In my role as Chairman," Tenenbaum said, "I am not willing to gamble the safety of our children in the hope that drain covers throughout the nation that are commonly removed for maintenance always will be reinstalled correctly or that a missing or broken drain cover will be immediately noticed by an observant pool operator who will then shut down the pool before any children are at risk."

In a statement, CPSC Commissioner Anne Northup, who sided with the majority, said that the Pool Safety Act "primarily addresses the miniscule portion of drownings attributable to entrapments" and that "unblockable drain covers are at least equally as effective in preventing or eliminating injury or death from drain entrapments as the other systems described in this statute."

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Kirstin Pires, spokesperson for the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, a trade group representing pool and spa manufacturers, said her group was "pleased" with the CPSC's decision. "We like what happened," said Pires. "Now we can go about the important business of making sure every pool is in compliance."

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