Pool Safely Campaign FAQs
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency created by Congress in 1972 charged with “protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.” In addition to Pool & Spa Safety, CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products — such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals — contributed significantly to the decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
CPSC created Pool Safely: Simple Steps Save Lives, a national public education campaign to reduce childhood drowning, non-fatal submersions and entrapments in public swimming pools and spas. The campaign carries out the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act), federal legislation mandating new requirements for public pools and spas, including a public information campaign. Pool Safely is designed to raise public awareness, promote industry compliance and improve safety at pools and spas.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act was enacted by Congress and signed by President Bush on December 19, 2007. Designed to prevent the tragic and hidden hazard of drain entrapments and eviscerations in pools and spas, the law became effective on December 19, 2008. Under the law, all public pools and spas must have ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007 compliant drain covers installed and a second anti-entrapment system installed, when there is a single main drain other than an unblockable drain.
This important child safety law strives to:
- Enhance the safety of public and private pools and spas
- Encourage the use of layers of protection
- Reduce child drownings in pools and spas (nearly 300 each year involving children younger than five)
- Reduce the number of suction entrapment incidents, injuries and deaths
- Educate the public on the importance of constant supervision of children in and around water
To learn more about the Act, please visit www.poolsafely.gov/pool-spa-safety-act/.
In June 2002, seven-year old Virginia Graeme Baker died after becoming stuck on a hot tub drain due to a powerful suction force. The drain’s suction was so powerful that it took two adult males to pull her from the drain. Graeme was a member of a community swim and dive team and had been swimming unassisted since she was three years old. After being found underwater by her twin sister, Graeme’s mother, Nancy Baker, tried unsuccessfully to pull Graeme off the drain. Mrs. Baker said Graeme appeared to be attached to the bottom of the spa as if she were tied or held down. The men who eventually freed Graeme from the spa pulled so hard that the drain cover broke from the force. Graeme died from drowning, but the real cause of her death was suction entrapment due to a faulty drain cover.
The Pool Safely campaign aims to reduce the number of childhood drownings, near-drownings and entrapments in and around pools and spas. Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death of children under the age of five. The campaign aims to provide the American public, mainly parents, children, consumers, and industry professionals with easy and actionable water safety steps that can save a life.
To Pool Safely is to adopt and practice as many water safety steps as possible when in and around pools and spas. Adding an extra water safety step can make all the difference. You can never know which safety step can save a life — until it does. The Pool Safely campaign encourages many water safety steps from staying close to the pool or spa, constantly watching children in and around the water, knowing life saving skills like how to swim and CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), and installing safety equipment in and around the pool.
The Pool Safely campaign launched with the support of drowning prevention and public safety organizations. The campaign combines the efforts of a wide variety of partnering organizations, including drowning prevention, water and children’s safety groups; industry leaders and the pool and spa community; and state and local entities involved in pool and spa regulation. Many of these organizations are campaign partners.
The campaign’s partners are organized into three groups:
- Campaign Safety Partners (CSPs) are the top tier of partners who are well-known national or international organizations with a significant stake in drowning and entrapment prevention, child and family safety, and pool and spa safety and related issues. They are highly engaged in the campaign and are featured in key elements of the campaign. The American Red Cross; The YMCA of the USA; Safe Kids USA; National Drowning Prevention Alliance; Home Safety Council; Abbey’s Hope; and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals are all CSPs.
- Campaign Safety Leaders (CSLs) are important partners due to their ability to reach the public in communities around the country CSLs have the opportunity to become involved in many aspects of the campaign, including participation in events and campaign promotion, online engagement and distribution of campaign materials.
- Campaign Safety Community (CSC) is a virtually limitless group of individuals and organizations largely comprised of local coalitions and affiliates of our campaign CSPs and CSLs, as well as families touched by drowning tragedies. Any organization is welcome to join the CSC by subscribing to the CPSC listserv and promoting the Pool Safely campaign in their own communities.
Efforts by all Pool Safely partners to continue the progress and sustainability of the campaign are critical to its success.
CPSC estimates that each year nearly 300 children younger than five drown in swimming pools and spas and more than 3,200 children that age go to hospital emergency rooms due to submersion injuries in pools and spas.
CPSC publishes annual reports on submersion and entrapment incidents in the U.S.