smithsonian
Apr 11, 2019

Legislation Advanced by MWC-Led Coalition Now Featured in Smithsonian National Museum of American History

In 2006, McGuireWoods Consulting (MWC) formed a coalition of consumer safety advocates to support the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act – legislation in response to a number of entrapment drownings of children and infants caught in the suction of high pressure drains.

Working with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and former Sen. George Allen, the MWC-led coalition lobbied for the bill to require all pools to be fitted with compliant, curved drain covers to prevent entrapment from the strong suction of a drain. The bill also required additional safety devices to be included in the construction of new public pools.

Through education, legal action and political influence, MWC worked with consumers to empower them to become advocates. In a new Smithsonian National Museum of American History exhibit, consumer advocates are prominently featured, showing how businesses have made changes to their products throughout history in response to advocates.

From “killer baby cribs, pool drains that disemboweled children and cars that exploded in low-speed fender benders,” as a recent Washington Post story explains, consumer advocates have worked to increase safety for Americans for over one hundred years.

The Smithsonian exhibit on Consumer Protection and Advocacy recognizes the work of the MWC coalition to protect children in pools from entrapment, as well as other examples of success from consumer advocates. The exhibit is open now at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.