Important Updates for Swimming Pool Owners

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act

On December 19, 2007, the president signed into law the Virgina Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, named after the daughter of Nancy Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water. This Act was first introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-shultz (FL) and was supported by the Baker family and Kid Safe Worldwide.

There is an annual average of 283 drowning deaths (2003-2005) and 2700 emergency room-treated submersion injuries (2005-2007) involving children younger than 5 in pools and spas. In addition, from 1997-2007, there were 74 reported incidents associated with suction entrapment, including 9 deaths and 63 injuries. The new law is aimed at reducing these deaths and injuries by making pools safer, securing the environment around them and educating consumers and industry on pool safety.

The Act specifies that on or after December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the United States must meet specific performance requirements. Additionally, public swimming pools, wading pools spas and hot tubs must meet requirement for installation of compliant drain covers. New drain covers which meet the current standards are now beginning to make their way into the marketplace. Additionally, in certain instances, public pools and spas must have additional devices or systems designed to prevent suction entrapment.

U.S. Consumer Product Safty Commission (CPSC)

Options: While there are many systems out there to help with this very important law we have come up with three we like, which also offer a wide range of prices for your budgets.

Retrofitting (Updating) pools needs to be done in a two part sequence:
  • First, all main drain covers must be changed out with compliant anti-entrapment covers {Marked with one of the following options below}. The new drain covers help to minimize the chance of hair entanglement, evisceration and finger entrapment. A VRS Safety System can not help with these situations, only the main drain cover can help.
    1. ASME/ANSI A 112.19.8-2007
    2. VGB 2008
    3. Or the swimmer logo stamped with the date of the act.
  • Second, a pool that does not have two main drains separated by at least 36 inches (center to center of the drains) will need to have corrective action performed on the pool. To get a single-drain system to comply, you must use one of the following options put forth by this Act
    1. Consider drain disablement or reversal of flow. (Disablement can't be done in Tennessee)
    2. Install additional properly spaced outlet(s) with compliant cover(s) & Sumps.
    3. Install safety vacuum release system(s) (SVRS) See above 3rd party options.
    4. Install a gravity drainage system
    5. Install a suction-limiting vent system
    6. Install an automatic pump shut-off system (SVRS- System)

NOTE: A Safety Vacuum Release system simply shuts off the suction (vacuum seal) allowing what ever is stuck to a main drain to be released. It can't stop hair entanglement, evisceration or finger entanglement. This system is designed to work in conjunction with new compliant drain covers.

Please see above web links for more information and current updates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the APSP ( The Association of pool & Spa Professionals).