By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Jim Ramstad on Friday urged quick action in Congress to prevent future pool drain accidents like the one 6-year-old Abigail Taylor suffered last week.

The suction from an uncovered pool drain tore out part of Abigail's intestinal tract when she was playing in a wading pool at St. Louis Park's Minneapolis Golf Club on June 29. She remained in serious condition Friday at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

"I look at this first as a mom," said Klobuchar, who has a 12-year-old daughter named Abigail. "This is every parent's worst nightmare."

Klobuchar, a Democrat, and Ramstad, a Republican whose district includes Abigail Taylor's hometown of Edina, have signed on to pool safety legislation that would require use of improved pool drains to prevent similar accidents.

Rep. John Kline, a Lakeville Republican, signed on to the pool safety legislation in March.

The measure was introduced last year. It passed the Senate but has failed to pass the House.

Klobuchar said she's hopeful the safety legislation will become law this year.

"It is unbelievable to me that they couldn't pass something as straightforward as this," she said.

Ramstad said he wrote to all his fellow House members Friday to urge them to action.

"We've got to pass this bill as soon as possible to prevent future tragedies in pools," he said.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 74 people were trapped by the suction force of pool drains between 1990 and 2004; 13 of them died. An additional 43 people got their hair entangled in pool drains; 12 of them died.

During that same period, two children were eviscerated by pool drains.

According to the commission, the scenario leading to disembowelment typically involves a young child, ages 2 to 6 years old, who sits on an uncovered drain. The accidents occur primarily in public wading pools where a floor drain cover is broken or missing, the federal safety agency reports.

That's what happened to Abigail Taylor, according to reports.

Her father, Scott Taylor, has said the pool where Abigail was hurt had a missing or loose drain cover.

This week, the Minneapolis Golf Club's general manager said he didn't know of anything wrong with the pool.

On Friday, the girl's parents released a statement saying they appreciated the support and medical care their daughter has received.

"Abbey is a strong little girl, and we are focused on her recovery and long-term future care," their statement said.

Abigail underwent surgery Friday to insert a feeding tube. She may have to use a tube for nutrition for the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, some parents at the newly refurbished Highland Park pool in St. Paul said they did not realize that the suction in pool drains could be so powerful and cause so much damage. They said Abigail's accident has made them more careful - and watchful - even as the city has said its aquatic facilities meet safety standards.

Tami Maddio, of St. Paul, said she thought about the accident when her children - Cole, 2, and Rachel, 4 - were drawn to water jets in the pool.

"I was a little more aware of where each one was," Maddio said. "I wasn't relaxed. This totally opened my eyes."

Tad Vezner contributed to this report. Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at


According to U.S. government statistics, between January 1990 and August 2004:

- There were two incidents of evisceration or disembowelment in pools or spas. Disembowelment typically involves a young child, ages 2 to 6, who sits on an uncovered drain.
- There have been 13 deaths related to 74 reported cases of body entrapment in pools and spas; 77 percent of the victims were under age 15.
- Additionally, there have been 12 deaths from 43 reported incidents of hair entrapment in pools and spas, and two deaths related to drain entrapment where the body part or object caught in the drain was unknown