June 1 roundup


  • I’ve followed the “Pool Drain Law” for a while

    For instance, in 2002, seven-year-old Virginia Baker drowned when suction from a drain held her at the bottom of a backyard spa. It took two adults pulling on her body to remove her from the drain. She was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

    What the article doesn’t mention is this girl, who the law was named for was the daughter of Nancy and James Baker IV, the son of former Secretary of State James Baker.

    This poor girl, just 7 years old, died in a spa.

    This WSJ doesn’t say how old Zachary Cohen was.

    But the bigger point is: why was a 7 year old girl (in the Baker case) left ALONE in the spa? Why did everyone have to install a pool drain cover because she had tragically irresponsible parents? I personally have stubbed my toes on those covers, enduring pain and suffering because some parents are irresponsible.

    Swimming is one of those activities that, whatever your age, you shouldn’t do alone!

    We seem to have this implied legal principle called “haven’t they suffered enough already” that makes parents immune from being criminally charged for tragic but preventable accidental deaths of their children. So, to compensate, we go after others.

  • The argument that children shouldn’t be swimming alone doesn’t address most of the actual accidents, which took place in swimming pools in which the children were not alone. The problem is that if a child swims or dives to the bottom of the pool and gets stuck, he or she is often not visible to a parent outside the pool or even at some distance within the pool and it may take some time to realize that he or she is missing. In such situations, the alternative to the requirement of drain covers is the requirement that children be much more closely monitored than they are now, probably that an adult would have to swim with the child and follow him or her around, even when they are good swimmers.