Child eviscerated by pool drain

A 6-year-old Edina girl remained hospitalized in serious condition Wednesday after an unusual accident in which several feet of her intestine were pulled out by the suction of a swimming pool drain…

Bennett said doctors had to perform surgery to remove the part of Abigail’s intestine that remained following the accident. He said it is likely that she will have to be fed intravenously for the rest of her life.

Although some details of the accident are still fuzzy, it is known that Abigail was able to free herself from the drain and get out of the pool on her own without calling for help. As a result, the extent of her injuries wasn’t immediately evident to the people near her. In a message posted on the Caring Bridge, a nonprofit Internet site that offers free Web pages to families of people recovering from illness or injuries, the Taylors said the protective cover on the pool’s drain had come off.

If so, the scenario of the injury fits a pattern that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned about in a 2005 report, “Guidelines for Entrapment Hazards: Making Pools and Spas Safer.”

According to the report, if a child sits on an open drain, the suction, which can reach several hundred pounds per square inch, can rupture the rectum and eviscerate the child in a matter of seconds… There have been three such incidents since 1990. The most recent was two years ago when a 3-year-old was disemboweled by a hot tub drain…


Just like:

Children without seat belts,
Children eating lead paint,
Children starting fires with parents matches,

I have a hard time accepting this is still going on. Pools and Spas are not part of the ‘typical’ home inspection, but can someone post more material about this. I remember hearing about this on some big news show YEARS ago.


Yes there were some very high profile and very tragic incidents back in the 90s, when I was still in the swimming pool business. As a result, however, new regulations for pool drain/suction design were implemented in order to prevent such occurrences from happening in the future. This included such things as larger size drains, dual drains tied together so that suction would be dispersed and atmospheric vacuum relief valves on the suction lines.

Existing commercial pools and spas, at least in Maryland (not sure about nation wide), were required to retrofit their drain/suction systems to conform to the new standards.

I imagine, however, that there are still some unsafe residential pools out there and perhaps some older commercial pools have slipped through the cracks.

As of now, no federal regulation:

Some general info:

oh my god, that is horrible.

Hummm… 'till I GOOGLED “poll drain safety” never realized that a pool drain case was how John Edwards made his name:

My head just keeps saying “please let it be on snopes…please let it be on snopes…”

but it’s not. Oh my God. I’m going to be sick. If I’d ever known about this I’d never have let me kids go swimming by themselves. :frowning:

Use to be more common, I believe newer ones are anti-vortex drains.

There may not be a Federal regulation/law yet, but it is part of the International Residential Code wherever that is followed, and I think that you will find that any competent commercial pool builder will follow the ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 standard and/or the Standards of the National Spa and Pool Institute regarding pool design and entrapment issues.

And where were the parents or the person in charge??

One of my boys almost bit the farm because I was stupid

No ones fault but mine

The kids have no warranty and it is not the village that is responsible – it is me

It does not take an engineer to see that a pool drain cover is not in place

Parent or person in charge is at fault – Mfg can’t be responsible for consumer maintenance

Somewhat like suing a gun Mfg because the mother, father, boyfriend, girlfriend etc. left the gun out

Sorry — AIC – Adult In Charge

If you are not smart enough to see the problem

Don’t have children

Why is it everyone else’s problem but the mom and dad?

I hope I get a good one started on this one


Man, that is for sure!

I am sorry this happened but I can not believe the parents (or those responsible) that leave the children to fend for themselves.:roll:

If I knew this or that could happen, I would not have left them alone…what a crock…after all, they are children and by definition need responsible supervision.


Thank you – I thought the first person to reply would be saying the Mfg and contractor were the bad people

Trust me in most cases the mfg does not try to build a problem – he does not need it — not good for business – be it cars, tires, pools etc.


I is my pleasure…

The only manufacturers that I have a problem with are the morons that made me lose 1/2 of my finger by making me work late until I was tired, they made me work with less than adequate lighting as it got darker, they made me rush a little too much toward the end of the job and those idiots made me stick my finger 1/2 way into the power miter box I was operating by not putting adequate and large enough signage on the tool to not do that. :stuck_out_tongue:

The only good that came out of it is that I can point close range easily and get a laugh from the grandkids by picking my nose really deep.:smiley:


MADE ME?? is the question

I do like how you look at things – Grand kids are the best


safety features are for those miliseconds it takes for a child to get in trouble, you are speculating here, go read some of the links posted on the subject then come back and tell me it was the parents fault, there have been adults die from this too. if the manufacturers were not held acountable for some of the things that happen it would not be safe to walk out the door, i am not disagreeing with you on the parent issue but i do disagree on the blame without balance. if the mom was right there she probably could not have done anything anyway. the parents are kicking themselves enough without you kicking them also.

Either anti vortex and or two drains.

Exactly. I never let my kids go swimming by themselves at that age. Just when they were older and I just found out that they used to put their hands over the drains when they were with me when younger so I’d be willing to bet that in a few seconds of scooting their butts across the drain while I was holding them around the waist, this tragedy could have happened, because I wouldn’t have known to have avoided it.

“Safety features are for those miliseconds it takes for a child to get in trouble…”


Question for those inspectors that check pools.

How do you report anti-entrapment situations, or do you.

The rules for pools have changed over the years and will continue to change.

So as an example, if you have a pool with no spa, and one main drain and 2 skimmers and the main drain is an anti-vortex drain, how would you report this?

Personally I think this is a great topic of discussion.

I took a pool class recently. Newer designed pools have dual main drains spaced at least 3 feet apart, and drains should be hydraulically balanced, or be on two separate plains. Anti-entrapment covers should be used on all suction outlet locations.

According to the pool/spa operator handbook by the National Swimming Pool Foundation,, there were 133 entrapments reported 1/1985 - 3/2002. Six were evisceration.

It’s a terrible thing to happen.

I feel that all possible hazards should be pointed out, especially something that life threatening.