MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesotans get ready for warmer temperatures, many are getting ready for pool season. But for one family, this time of year brings heartache and renewed commitment to a mission.
In 2007, 6-year-old Abbey Taylor was disemboweled after sitting on a faulty drain in a kids’ pool at the Minneapolis Golf Club. She died after receiving a triple organ transplant.
This week, she would’ve turned 10.
Family members remember Abbey as a talented swimmer with a giant smile. Scott Taylor said Abbey’s birthday is always hard.
“It was very, very difficult. We rallied together as a family yesterday,” he said. “You see the girls that were her friends growing up and you wonder what it would be like.”
Abigail’s family channeled their grief into the Abbey’s Hope Foundation, which promotes pool and pool drain safety.
“What we are trying to convey to parents is that they need to be vigilant,” said Taylor.
Children are often drawn to the suction in pool drains, which can hold them under water or in Abbey’s case suck out their internal organs.
After her death, the Taylor family worked to pass both a federal and state law that requires tougher standards for pool and hot tub drains. But the law only applies to public pools, and communities don’t have enough pool inspectors to ensure enforcement.
This winter the foundation organized a bowling event to donate bathing suits to inner-city kids, 2,600 of whom took part in a water safety program sponsored in part by Abbey’s Foundation.
“To see the smiles on some of these kids, it’s just amazing,” Scott Taylor said, adding that the pain does not fade, but there is comfort knowing that Abbey is saving lives. “That is the best legacy we could have for Abbey that people are still talking about her and her story and how dangerous these drains can be.”
Accidental drowning and water accidents are the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.