A lawsuit has ended and, as has a chapter in history.
The parents of Zachary Archer Cohn, who drowned in his family’s Connecticut pool after being entrapped, have reached final settlements with the various parties they held responsible.
The six-year-old, who loved swimming and was more proficient than most for his age, was in the pool when his arm became stuck in a drain placed on the dam wall between the pool and spa.
The incident was historic in a few respects. For one thing, the pool builder became the first known to have faced criminal charges for alleged flaws in the pool construction and oversight in its maintenance. But the impact was even more widespread. At the time of Zachary’s accident, a bill for the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was on its second go-round after dying the year before. It wasn’t gaining much steam. But news of Zachary’s death, combined with the entrapment of 6-year-old Abigail Taylor the month before, fueled advocates of the bill and compelled congressional support in the children’s home states. So the bill passed.
Adding to the effects on safety, both Zachary’s and Abigail’s parents founded organizations meant to provide education on swimming and water safety: the ZAC Foundation and Abbey’s Hope. The Cohns have said their settlement funds will go to their foundation.
After six years of reviewing and reporting the facts of this case, I wanted to briefly acknowledge these beautiful children and the impact they will have.
The issue of water safety will always be with us, and there are differing views about the effectiveness of VGB. But as this particular chapter closes and we enter the high season for swimming, let’s hope pools are safer and that people’s lives will be saved without their even knowing it.