Karla News

Swimming Pool Victim Abigail Taylor Dies

Pool Safety

On June 29, 2007, Abigail Taylor of Edna, Minnesota, was severely injured when she was partially disemboweled by the suction from a swimming pool drain. As a result of this she received a triple-replacement surgery consisting of the bowel, liver and pancreas.

While the initial outlook was promising, Abigail suffered a number of setbacks including a cancerous condition often brought on by organ replacement surgery, and, sadly died on March 20, 2008; her parents were with her.

Her accident partially resulted in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act named after another young girl who drowned after being pinned by a pool drain.

Pools are dangerous. It doesn’t just have to be a large pool or in-ground pool to present a risk; especially to children. The pool that ultimately killed Abigail was a “kiddie pool.

I have personal experience with family pools and what they offer as potential risk. A very close friend of the family lost a three-year-old grandson due to ineffective blocking of a pool safety partition. This involved an above-ground pool and was further compounded by the presence of a babysitter rather than the parents.

Unfortunately, that is part of the problem with many pool designs; they rely on adult supervision while at the same time boasting about their safety points.

In our area, there have been a number of incidences of drains trapping not only children but adults as well. One never knows whether it is due to pool malfunction or erroneous maintenance.

Some of the highlights of the Virginia Graeme Baker Federal Pool and Spa Safety act include (effective March 20, 2008):

Safety Drain Covers
Public Pool Drain Covers
Public Pool Drain systems
Barriers to Free-Standing Above-Ground Pools
Suction Entrapment Avoidance
Funding for Consumer Education
Funding for Public Safety Classes

Interestingly, the largest number of child transplants of this nature has occurred in Florida which, due to the swimming populace would make sense.

There are many accidents that can rob children of life. Drains in pools are one danger that can be easily removed; however, I would say one thing about pool accidents: No amount of legislation or safety features will completely prevent horrific swimming results.

I recall when my middle son was about nine. We were staying at a hotel with a very shallow pool (four feet). I planned on going down to the pool and sitting in a chair while not swimming. He threw a fit. Frankly he wanted to prove he was “grown up” enough to swim on his own. I went anyway. He was in four feet of water and another child jumped in the water; my son got a mouth full of water and it went down the wrong way, since I was there it was nothing to pull him out. Had I not been there it may have been a much different story.

It is a tragedy what happened to Abigail Taylor and the right thing was done in passing legislation. The Taylor’s are obviously thoughtful, loving and responsible parents.

What the rest of us need to learn from this sad situation is that water is dangerous and we, as parents must be hyper vigilant.