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Many of us in the frozen latitudes are probably longing for warm weather by now. I, for one, would like to put down my snow shovel and lounge around by a swimming pool. Starting tomorrow, that might become a lot harder than it sounds.

One year ago, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill requiring that all public pools and spas have certain safety features. One such feature is a drain cover that greatly reduces the risk of entanglement due to suction – a particular concern for small children. Although pool operators have had a year to comply with the new law, most have chosen to ignore or even defy the new requirements. As a result, the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may begin shutting down non-conforming pools.

The new law is an important safety measure aimed at preventing a very real danger. After car crashes, drowning is the second leading cause of death among children aged 14 and younger. Many times, the victim is overlooked until it is too late. Even in crowded pools adults can become distracted and not notice that a young swimmer is trapped beneath the surface.

The best safety measure is undivided supervision of swimmers. Because this is not always a realistic situation, the addition of extra safety devices should be a welcome change. Yet pool operators apparently don’t share that view, and are willing either break the law or be shut down. Unfortunately, this means that thousands of people will be unable to participate in an enjoyable and healthy activity.

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