One of the act's main provisions establishes a standard for the materials, testing and other specifics related to the manufacture of drain covers according to the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 or later. The standard applies to any manufacturer who makes pool or spa drain covers for the U.S. market. Going forward it will help make future pool and spa installations much safer.
In order to be in compliance with the act, state laws must set forth these minimum requirements for pool safety:
- Public Facilities - A public pool or spa is defined as one that is: operated by the federal government, open to the public, available to a specific membership, or belonging to a hotel or apartment building. After Dec. 19, 2008, all public pools must be equipped or retrofitted with anti-entrapment devices or systems that are in compliance with the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8. standard. Public pools must upgrade single main drain systems and make sure that multiple main drains are a minimum of 3 feet apart. Unblockable drain systems are exempt from the basic provisions of the act.
- Access - There should be an enclosure around outdoor residential pools that prevents young children from entering unsupervised. Recommendations in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publication, "Safety Barrier Guidelines for Home Pools" suggest that fences have a height of at least 48 inches and a maximum bottom clearance of four inches or less. For more information, review the specific requirements for your state [source: CPSC].
- Updated Pool Drains - Residential pools should be upgraded to include equipment or devices that will prevent entrapment, such as anti-entrapment drain covers on main drains that aren't unblockable.
- New Installation - New pools and spas installed on or after Dec. 19, 2008, must meet one of these standards:
- More than one drain installed
- At least one unblockable drain installed
- No main drain present
- Public and Industry Awareness- Educational programs designed to help prevent entrapment and drowning must be made available to both pool professionals and the public.
When the days get longer and the temperature gets hotter, having a pool to play in is a terrific way to pass the time. To keep everyone protected, make pool and swimming safety your top priority by performing any necessary updates to your favorite watering hole before the start of the season. Supervise pool activities, and stay alert at all times, especially when there are children present.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- CPSC. "To the Public Pool and Spa Safety Community" 12/15/08. 3/30/10.http://nspf.org/Documents/CPSC_Articles/CPSC_121608.pdf
- CPSC. "CPSC Staff's Guide To Complying With The Law." 12/19/08. 3/31/10.http://nspf.org/Documents/CPSC_Articles/GuideToCompliance.pdf
- Live and Learn. "Swimming Pool Safety". Undated. 3/30/10.http://www.liveandlearn.com/pools.html
- NSPF. "Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act." Undated. 3/30/10.http://nspf.org/FPSSA.html
- NSPF. "Safety Barrier Guidelines For Home Pools." Undated. 3/31/10.http://nspf.org/Documents/CPSC_Articles/cpscSection1404.pdf
- PoolSafety.gov. "Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Starts with You!" Undated. 3/29/10.http://www.poolsafety.gov/
- PoolSafety.gov. "Background on the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act." Undated. 3/28/10.http://www.poolsafety.gov/media.html
- PoolSafety.gov. "Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act." Undated. 3/29/10.http://www.poolsafety.gov/pssa.html
- PoolSafety.gov. "Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act Frequently Asked Questions." Undated. 3/28/10.http://www.poolsafety.gov/pssafaq.html