MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 7-year-old boy remains hospitalized after falling into a St. Paul pool and being submerged in murky water for several minutes.
The accident happened at a St. Paul pool last Monday. A WCCO investigation found that because of a gap in state inspection procedures, neither the state nor the city had been inspecting the pool.
That, despite two complaints to the city in 2012, that the pool, which has not been used for years, was a threat to children.
In this week’s Talking Points, Esme Murphy takes a look at the state of pool safety as we head into summer.
Before 2009, more than 800 pools in Minnesota that were at apartment buildings and country clubs were classified as private. A 2009 Minnesota law changed that, putting those pools under the Minnesota Department of Health and requiring at minimum a yearly inspection.
The Minnesota law was named for Abbey Taylor, a 6-year-old Edina girl who died in 2008 from injuries she received after sitting on an improperly maintained pool drain at a Twin Cities country club. Abbey’s father, Scott Taylor, was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“In this particular case it looks like the owner was up to code, which is following the law as it is written right now, which is that there was a fence there but obviously an additional cover draining the pool,” Taylor said. “Perhaps burying the pool, sealing the pool, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it.”
Abbey’s family has set up the Abbey’s Hope Foundation to promote pool safety. Despite new standards for pool drains, the foundation urges parents to tell kids to avoid swimming near all drains. The foundation also has a program to encourage parents to avoid distractions like cell phones and reading when their children are swimming. The foundation is also partnering with the YMCA to provide swimming lessons for children who cannot afford them.
The owner of the St. Paul pool where the accident happened has promised to fill the pool within days. St. Paul has promised to actively monitor pools that are abandoned and not being used.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and MIke Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.