Our View: A law no one should forget: Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act takes effect tomorrow
Tomorrow is the date many -- but not all -- of the laws passed by the Legislature this spring take effect. As documented in the News Tribune editorial "Fuggedaboutit!" (June 1), bills that make headlines during debate aren't always remembered lon...
Tomorrow is the date many -- but not all -- of the laws passed by the Legislature this spring take effect. As documented in the News Tribune editorial "Fuggedaboutit!" (June 1), bills that make headlines during debate aren't always remembered long after being signed, or vetoed, by the governor. But there is one that no caring person should soon forget: the Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act.
Just over a year ago, on June 29, 2007, the 6-year-old Edina, Minn., girl for whom the law is named sat over an open drain hole in a Minneapolis Golf Club wading pool. The powerful suction tore out 21 feet of her small intestine. Doctors and family members called it a "medical miracle" that she survived.
Sadly, she did not for more than a few months. Taylor died on March 21 from complications following a multi-organ transplant. The incident sparked outrage -- especially since her accident wasn't the first. Since 1990, at least three other children suffered similar injuries, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, citing federal reports, and 33 others have died in drain accidents.
One who suffered a similar tragic death, in 2002, was 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker, the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. Her death sparked national legislation that went nowhere until Taylor's tragedy, when Minnesota's Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, and Rep. Jim Ramstad, a Republican, helped push through Congress the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act, banning the manufacture, sale or distribution of drain covers that don't meet safety standards. President Bush signed it into law on Dec.19.
Last session, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty likewise unhesitatingly signed the state's counterpart, which mandates covers on drains in public pools. Tomorrow it becomes law, and regular inspections will begin to ensure its compliance.
And no one should forget it.