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The deadly dangers of drain entrapment

As spring gives way to summer here in South Louisiana and social distancing rules are relaxing, it’s a given that residents will be flocking to backyard and public pools and spas to get some relief from the unrelenting heat and humidity.

There is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. But there is a real danger present of which many people are unaware — drain entrapment.

The hazard of drain entrapment can be present in both Jacuzzi spas and in-ground pools. The danger stems from the strong suction that comes from the drainage system when a cover is missing or removed.

The reverse pressure that is exerted is strong enough to suck up and hold fast a child’s or adult’s clothing, jewelry, hair, limbs or even torso. Their heads may be trapped underwater, causing them to drown. Alternatively, if the abdomen is is contact with a strong suction, the person could be eviscerated.

The five types of suction entrapment are:

  • Limb entrapment. A swimmer’s arm or leg can get caught in the broken drain pipe if a cover is removed.

  • Body entrapment. Children are at particular risk of sitting or lying on an underwater drain and adhering to it.

  • Hair entrapment. Adults of both genders who have long hair and young girls have the greatest risk of getting the long strands of their hair caught up and tangled in parts of the drain mechanism. The covers don’t even have to be missing for this to occur.
  • Evisceration. While, fortunately, this is far rarer, it is typically the most gruesome and deadly. The suction is so great that it causes the intestines and internal organs to extrude from the body.
  • Mechanical entrapment. A swimmer’s bathing suit, clothing or jewelry can get caught up in the drain and hold them underwater.

If you or a loved one suffer injuries from drain entrapment, you may have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and other losses.