Wasserman Schultz to Introduce Federal Pool Safety Legislation

May 2, 2006


“Pool Safety Must Be a National Priority“

Wasserman Schultz to Introduce Federal Pool Safety Legislation

Florida swimming pool safety legislation to serve as federal model

May 2, 2006

(Washington, DC)  --  Stating that “swimming pool safety must be a national priority,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced that next week, she will introduce federal pool safety legislation.  Rep. Wasserman Schultz made the announcement at a Washington , DC press conference focusing on pool safety and honoring the memory of Graeme Baker, who tragically drowned at the age of seven. The Congresswoman joined Nancy Baker, Graeme’s mother, former Secretary of State James Baker, Graeme’s grandfather, and Dr. Martin Eichelberger, President and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide as they kicked off National Safe Kids Week, a national public awareness campaign which this year will feature more than 300 community pool and spa events around the country. 


“Since before I was elected to Congress, developing national comprehensive pool and spa safety legislation has been one of my top priorities,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.  “335 children died in the United States in 2004 and basic pool safety legislation would dramatically reduce these childhood fatalities.”


The Pool and Spa Safety Act uses as a model existing Florida pool safety legislation, the “Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act,” that U.S. Rep. Wasserman Schultz introduced and passed in 2000 while serving as a Representative in the Florida State Legislature.


“The tragedy of hundreds of children dying each year from accidental drowning and four times as many who are near-drowning victims with devastating injuries, is made even more painful by the knowledge that these types of accidents are preventable,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.  “We must implement national standards to replace the haphazard safety measures that allowed Graeme, and hundreds of children like her, to be lost in such nightmare scenarios.”


The Pool and Spa Safety Act is intended to increase the safety of swimming pools and spas by motivating states to pass laws that incorporate layers of protection in order to help prevent drowning, drain entrapment and hair entanglements.  The legislation would provide grants to states which require all swimming pools and spas to have these layers of protection:


1.      Installation of physical barriers (such as a fence) around a pool to prevent children’s unattended access.

2.      Mandates pools to be equipped with a suction outlet drain cover which prevents hair and body entanglement.

3.      Requires the installation of a safety vacuum release system, shutting off a pump if it detects a blockage.

4.      Public awareness campaign regarding the importance of active supervision of children at or near a pool.


National Safe Kids Week has been held annually for 19 years.  This year’s theme is Safe Pools for Safe Kids.  More than 300 events will take place nationwide to educate parents and pool owners about how to keep kids safe from drowning.

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