(AP) Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Ramstad Friday called for passage of legislation aimed at increasing pool safety following the injury last week of a 6-year-old Edina girl.
Ramstad, R-Minn., announced he had signed on to legislation that would require the use of proper anti-entrapment drain covers and pool and spa drainage systems. Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she planned to sign onto a similar bill that is slated to be introduced in the Senate next week.
The girl, Abigail Taylor, sat over an open drain hole in a wading pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club June 29 and had part of her intestinal tract torn out by the drain's powerful suction. She remained in serious condition at Children's Hospital Friday after undergoing surgery to insert a catheter for feeding and medication.
"The devastating, life-changing injury to 6-year-old Abigail Taylor, of Edina, Minnesota, should never happen again," Ramstad said in a statement. "Safety laws should protect children so they won't get caught or stuck in pool drains and become disemboweled."
He sent a letter to all House members urging the bill's immediate passage. Another Minnesota House member, Republican John Kline, signed on as co-sponsor in March.
"I look at this first as a mother," Klobuchar said in a telephone interview. "This is just every mother's worst nightmare. Your daughter is enjoying a beautiful summer day at the pool, and suddenly your life is changed forever. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time this has happened. There are laws we can pass to strengthen the safety standards and prevent this from occurring again."
The House bill, the Pool and Spa Safety Act, also would establish a federal grant program aimed at educating the public about pool and spa safety and encouraging states to improve their pool and spa safety laws.
Several states have already passed laws aimed at increasing pool safety after children drowned or were disemboweled by drain suction.