Hot Tub Drain Danger
Special Report: Hot Tub Drain Danger
"She said ‘Mommy, mommy, Graeme's at the bottom of the hot tub,’ So I jumped in and I saw her and I pulled and I pulled and I pulled. Couldn't get her out," Baker said.
Baker's 7-and-a-half year old daughter, an athlete and excellent swimmer, was trapped, as if held down.
"I was later told it took two men who jumped in and pulled her out," Baker said.
The consumer product safety commission says Graeme's death is not uncommon when suction from a drain Is extremely powerful.
"Someone goes under the water. They cover the drain with their body usually. They become sealed over the drain. The suction is so great that people trying to lift them cannot pull them from the drain," Mark Ross of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said.
And it's happening in hot tubs, pools, backyards spas, and in hotels and resorts coast to coast.
"Since 1990 there have been about 128 incidents, and that's resulted in about 27 deaths," Ross said.
But Baker believes the real numbers are far worse.
"When a child dies by entrapment, a hospital lists it as an accidental drowning. Graeme's death certificate reads accidental drowning. You know, it wasn't an accident," Baker said.
Baker blames current government safety guidelines that leave the use of drain covers and safety vacuum release systems up to the individual. She believes these life-saving devices should be mandatory.
"If it's voluntary, who needs to abide by it?" Baker said.
The CPSC says it is working with the spa industry promoting public safety campaigns every year. The association of pool and spa professionals says both parents and
Homeowners must be educated about potential dangers.
"Owners of older pools and older hot tubs have a variety of devices or precautions that they can take now, newer technologies that can make their installations safer," Suzanne Barrows of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals said.
But Baker said until devices to make hot tubs safer are enforced, deaths, just like Graeme's, will continue.
"This is what I imagine. That moment that my little girl recognized that she wasn't coming up. Now, is that right," Baker said.
If you own a hot tub or swimming pool or want more information on how to make these products safer, click on the links below for more information.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Washington D.C. 20207
Aqua Safe Incorporated
2510 Farrell Road
Houston, TX 77073
4505 Prosperity Drive
Ft. Pierce, FL., 34981
A swimming pool suction safety corporation
561-432-7642 or 1-800-513-4372
Retail sales: 561-433-2580
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