Drain Dangers

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The suction from a pool drain is so powerful it could hold an adult underwater. It sounds pretty unbelievable, but a six-year-old is recovering from disembowelment after a similar situation involving a pool drain.

Abigail Taylor was sitting on the drain in a wading pool in Minneapolis when the suction from the drain ripped a two inch tear in her rectum.

Her father said the drain disemboweled her by pulling out her small intestines through her bottom.

Her father also said the pool's drain hole was improperly covered, but the general manager of the club where the pool is located said he didn't think anything was wrong with the drain.

During this summer season we want to make sure your loved ones are safe. In this story we'll explain how pool drains work and how you can check to make sure the same tragedy won't happen again.

"There ain't no suction on the drains unless you open this valve," said Terry Ashley as he pulls the trash can off the manhole at Russell Sims Aquatic Center. It's a precaution the public pool has already taken to prevent accidents.

"That's why we keep the manhole closed until we're ready to shut down for the winter," explained Ashley. The pool doesn't have a drain system like other pools - instead, it has a gutter system which cleans the water just the same.

Your pools at home won't have the commercial structure like a manhole to prevent accidents, but you can buy the proper cover to prevent dangerous suction in your drain.

"This is an anti-vortex cover - it's a cover that is slightly domed, the water is sucked through the sides which does not allow for entrapment," Darri Pinerola explained how the dome shaped cover doesn't create a flat surface for suction.

Pinerola suggests taking extra steps to make sure any pool your kids are swimming in is safe.

"I would always make sure there's a grate on the drain - if not, I would not let my children swim in it," Pinerola said. He said you need to walk around, check it out, even shake the cover to see if it's secure.

"If that cover is not there, depending on the horse power of the pump, an incredible entrapment for a child or even an adult at the bottom of the pool," Pinerola said. "It's not uncommon - it happens around the country when there is no cover around the drain."

Several states have passed laws for pool safety after children drowned or were disemboweled by drain suction.

North Carolina and Tennessee, for instance, require pools to have dual drains to diffuse the force of the suction and prevent children from being trapped. There is no such law in Kentucky.