PHTA Supports Reintroduction of Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) announced its support of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act, which was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week by Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. H.R. 4313 seeks to reauthorize and update 2008 legislation requiring every public pool in the U.S. to install safe drain covers that prevent suction entrapment to decrease drownings.

H.R. 4313 has received bipartisan support in the House and has nine co-sponsors, including Reps. John Carter, R-Texas; Colin Allred, D-Texas; Nikema Williams, D-Ga.; Mike Flood, R-Neb.; Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas; Kathy Castor, D-Fla.; Deborah Ross, D-N.C.; Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz.; and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J.

The act allocates funding for grants that can be used for swim lessons, enforcing pool and spa safety laws, as well as educating communities about drowning and entrapment dangers. The legislation also expands program eligibility to nonprofit organizations and Native American tribes. If passed, the law would authorize $5 million per year from 2024-29 for use in jurisdictions that have enacted a qualifying minimum swimming pool and spa safety law, such as the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code and ANSI/APSP/ICC-16.

“The PHTA is proud to play a role in the [Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act] through the development of two industry safety standards that establish stringent requirements for suction outlet fitting assemblies and suction entrapment avoidance,” says Sabeena Hickman, president and CEO of the PHTA. “By reauthorizing this legislation, we will ensure a substantial reduction in fatal drownings — a cause that deserves universal backing.”

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In the U.S., drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 1-4. The PHTA joins Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Reauthorization Act supporters to help prevent drownings and near-drownings in pools and spas by increasing the layers of protection, extending grant program eligibility and providing funds for education about drowning and entrapment dangers, as well as ensuring the infrastructure and resources reflect the seriousness of this public health issue.

PHTA members and industry advocates are encouraged to support reauthorization advocacy efforts by reaching out to their Congressional representatives and voicing support for H.R. 4313.

For more information, contact Justin Wiley, PHTA vice president of government relations, standards and codes, at jwiley@phta.org.