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'She Died in My Arms': A Mother's Mission for Safe Pool


"I really wish it wasn't my daughter. But when she died it moved from the back pages of the newspaper to the front pages of the newspaper," Baker said.

Baker told ABC News it took all the political clout of her distinguished father-in-law and five years of lobbying effort to overcome pool industry resistance to a law requiring dome-shaped drain covers and pump valve releases. The dome shape prevents a child's body from creating a kind of vacuum seal.

Bill Weber, the president of Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), said that the APSP "worked very hard in support of" the passage of the Graeme Baker Act "from the very beginning."

But Baker said the group did nothing to help get the law passed and she was outraged when Weber asked her "if she was happy" after the vote in Congress. In a letter to Weber, Baker said he showed "a degree of ignorance and insensitivity regarding the circumstances which had me in that room in the first place. My involvement in this issue began with my drowned daughter in my arms and wherever this ends, it will never, ever be a 'happy' result."

Weber responded by saying that his organization has extended its support to the Baker family by helping to ensure the law's implementation.

With only five months left before public pools must install the new devices, an ABC News investigation found few public pools or motels in compliance.

ABC News and our affiliates, WFTV in Orlando, KGO in San Francisco and KGTV in San Diego, found that sixteen of twenty-three hotel pools across the country would not be compliant with the Graeme Baker Act's safety standards.Some instances were particularly dangerous. In the New York area, interns at the ABC News Investigative Unit found only three of nine motels checked had installed the new drains.

At one Holiday Inn in New Jersey, the interns found a hot tub's drain cover not screwed in, exposing the power of its suction pipe, easily sucking in the hair of a wig that was placed next to it.


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