Injuries to ChildrenPersonal InjuryPremises LiabilityWrongful DeathWhat Is the Virginia Graeme Baker Pools and Spa Safety Act?

Photo of a swimming pool at a resort.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (P&SS Act) is a law that was enacted in December of 2007. It aims to prevent pool hazards caused by drain entrapments and hazards caused by other unsafe pool designs.

The law requires all public pools and spas to have drain covers that meet the safety standards of ANSI/ASME or the newest standard, ANSI/APSP. Additionally, some pools must have a second anti-entrapment system installed.

Since this is a federal law, all states with public pools must follow the P&SS Act.

Who Is Virginia Graeme Baker?

The P&SS Act is named after Virginia Graeme Baker, a three-year-old girl who drowned after being trapped under water by a powerful suction from a hot tub drain.

After Virginia’s death, her mom and dad, Nancy and James Baker IV (the son of former Secretary of State James Baker III) worked diligently to promote pool and spa safety.

After successfully lobbying Congress to adopt a law that would require safety devices and anti-entrapment drain covers, the president signed into law the P&SS Act.

What Is a Drain Entrapment?

According to, “a drain entrapment occurs when a body is held against a pool or spa drain by the force of the pool’s suction.”

To prevent this from happening, public pools must have anti-entrapment drain covers. These covers create a dome over the drain instead of being flat. Flat drain covers make it easier for a vortex to develop that can hold a person under water. The dome prevents a vortex and strong suction from developing.

Are Residential Pools Required to Have Anti-Entrapment Drain Covers?

A drain entrapment drowning is most likely to occur in a residential pool, not a public pool. Unfortunately, the P&SS applies to public pools only and not residential ones. However, county and city laws may require residential pools to install anti-entrapment drain covers.

The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney


The Law Offices of Aaron Allison