The first known child entrapment fatality since the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act has occurred.
Last Saturday, May 31, four-year-old Cameron Nunez was in his great-grandparents’ inground spa in San Bernardino, Calif., when his hand became stuck in the drain pipe. The spa measured 95-by-47 inches, with a water depth of 32-inches. While the drain cover was used to cover the hole, it had been detached for approximately two years, according to Lt. Rich Lawhead of the San Bernardino Police Department.
When firemen arrived on the scene, the boy’s great grandfather was trying to free him. “The great grandparents did all they could,” Lawhead said. “They grabbed buckets to try to pail the water around him.” One of the firemen was able to release the child, but likely had to break the boy's arm in the process, Lawhead said.
The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital.
This is the first known child fatality since VGB’s enactment in 2008, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission Spokesperson Scott Wolfson.
While VGB is known mostly for its connection to commercial pools, the law also states that no drain cover can go into commerce unless it has been approved and stamped as being compliant with the federal law. Additionally, California law requires the anti-entrapment covers even on residential pools, although those existing before that law’s enactment in 2007 would only need to see outlet cover replacement if a permit needed to be pulled for a remodel. Police did not know the age of the pool.
Police are continuing to investigate the case, but have said no charges will be filed against the child’s great grandparents. “It appears to be a very, very tragic accident,” Lawhead said.