Nightly News   |  August 07, 2013

Pool drains pose serious risks

Usher's 5-year-old son is recovering in an Atlanta hospital after nearly drowning in a backyard pool after becoming trapped in the pool’s drain – a danger that exists in many pools across the country. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> we're back with an issue that's getting new attention tonight -- pool safety -- after an accident involving the son of a famous singer earlier this week. the child became trapped in the suction of the pool's drain. experts say that's a danger in many pools across the country. here's nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: it was a frantic call to atlanta 911.

>> yes. i have -- my nephew was in the pool. and he -- he went and i couldn't get him.

>> reporter: the son of usher nearly drowned after being trap bid the family pool's drain. two contractors saved the child. a chilling reminder of the serious risks a pool drain can pose. in minneapolis, 6-year-old abigail taylor died months after slipping in the baby pool and landing on the drain. the drain sucked out her intestines.

>> you don't think about your child being disemboweled in 18 incheses of water.

>> reporter: in 2002 the 7-year-old granddaughter of james baker drowned after being pinned by a hot oh tub drain. without the proper cover the suction on a pool's drain is so strong a grown man can struggle to pull free a rubber ball . between 1999 and 2008 , 11 children died in pool entrapments. five years ago a new national law required public pools to install new dome-shaped covers to prevent entrapment. since the law went into effect the federal government has no reports of anyone dying in a public pool entrapment. but the law doesn't cover private pools. 32 people, mostly kids, have suffered entrapment injuries. the problem -- any drain cover can become brittle and loose in the sun and chlorine. the danger is if the cover comes off.

>> right. then the toy goes in, the child wants to get his toy back and the suction can happen. that's when entrapment can happen.

>> reporter: the warning to pool owners, update drain covers and check them seasonally. tom costello, nbc news, bethesda, maryland.