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Hundreds of thousands of public swimming pools and hot tubs must now comply with a new federal law requiring drain covers and other devices intended to prevent accidental drowning of children.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was signed into law in December 2007 and gave public pool operators one year, until December 19, 2008, to comply with the new requirements.

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The law was created after a Minnesota child — a six-year-old girl — was severely injured when she sat on a drain in a wading pool and her intestines were sucked out of her body. The little girl was injured because the drain cover had been removed. Drain covers should be screwed into place. According to the Consumer Product Safety commission, the pressure on a pool drain can be up to 300 pounds per square inch.

The granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker died when she the suction of a pool drain kept her under water and she drowned. The law was created because at least one person was killed each year because of a pool drain.

By law, all public pools and hot tubs must have the drain covers installed or shut down.