Thankfully our story has a happy ending...
Letter from Gayle and Evan Weiss
There could be a hidden danger right in your backyard! Thankfully our story has a happy ending but we would like to share the lessons we have learned by retelling our son's story.
This was a day when nothing bad should have happened. Three little boys were playing in a Jacuzzi with a responsible mother just a couple of feet away. In one split second our son, Samuel, was suctioned to the drain at the bottom, completely unable to free himself from the vacuum that was created. He then began to pray that G-D would send someone to save him. His prayers were answered. Fortunately, one of the little boys in the Jacuzzi sensed our son was in danger and pushed Samuel from the side releasing him from the entrapment. (We later found out that this was a critical aspect, since pulling a child straight up and not from the side, one would need the strength equivalent of lifting over 700 lbs.) Samuel was then rushed by ambulance to UCLA where a Cat scan was administered to make sure that his internal organs had not been damaged.
So how did this happen? The drain cover of this particular Jacuzzi had been broken and removed. The pool man, who is there every week, had not informed the family of the dangers of having an open drain which creates the possibility of entrapment.
We have since learned a great deal about this hidden danger, which is very real and a serious threat to youngsters as well as adults. Every parent ought to know that most pools and Jacuzzis have powerful life-threatening drain systems. Pool/Jacuzzi entrapment and hair entanglement can create a devastating situation for children and adults.
Our pediatrician had a case where a child lost 90% of his intestines (evisceration) from a Jacuzzi drain entrapment. Entrapment can happen in a wading pool, at the main drains of pools and Jacuzzi's and at wall outlets for pool vacuums, and skimmer equalizer lines. Entrapment is a common occurrence and it is preventable with the proper equipment and guidelines in place. Below is a list of the "Layers of Protection" for pools and spas that can save lives.
"LAYERS OF PROTECTION"
For a Newer Pool
1. Educate children on the dangers of suctions ports (drains) and related matters.
2. Installing (hydraulically balanced) multiple drains.
3. Install an approved (certified) anti-hair entanglement/anti-entrapment cover to all existing main drains and active suction ports.
4. Install an approved Safety Vacuum Release System (SVRS system) or gravity flow or collector tank.
For Older Pools
1. Anti entrapment cover (same as above).
2. Install an approved SVRS system. (Item #4 listed above.)
For more information you can go online to www.CPSC.gov. (Guidelines for pool/ Jacuzzi entrapment). Our family is working with other people, who have had experiences of entrapment, in order to mandate changes in the way that pools and spas are built, serviced and maintained. Drain entrapment is preventable and there have been too many serious injuries and lives taken from this. California has some of the lowest drain safety requirements in the country.
Here is what you can do to help prevent this from happening and to make sure our government knows our concerns and outrage at the lack of guidelines in drain safety and that we are hoping the Consumer Products Safety Commission will pass federal mandatory guidelines (Layers of Protection).
Write to our Senators (Boxer and Feinstein) as well as our Governor.
Write to Senator George Allen (Virginia) who is Chairman of the Commerce Committee and is involved with this issue.
If anyone would like to contact us, please call 818-995-3678.
Thanks you so much,
Gayle & Evan Weiss
(Very grateful parents)