Swimming Pools Can Be A Grave Danger To Younger Children

As in other warm-weather states, swimming pools are a common fixture in Texas. Besides serving as a means to cool off on hot Texas afternoons, pools also can attract young children and can be dangerous for them. All too often, toddlers as well as older kids can move so quickly that they can make it to the family or a neighbor's pool before an adult knows that they are gone.

It is a sad fact that young children can drown in a few seconds and may not make any noise, such a splashing or screaming, that would alert nearby adults. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 300 children age 4 or younger drown in swimming pool accidents each year. Before most of these drownings occurred, most of the children were being supervised by one or both parents. Seventy-seven percent of the children who drowned were missing for fewer than five minutes.

If the child is lucky enough to survive the near-drowning, many suffer permanent brain injuries from the extended time without oxygen.

Reducing the risk of drowning

To protect children and other vulnerable persons from accessing the pool area, experts recommend that the doors leading to the pool area be secured with locks. As locks often fail to deter the most curious and determined of toddlers and preschoolers, it is recommended that alarms also be installed on the doors leading to the pool area as a backup.

In addition to doors and alarms, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that property owners install a fence or barrier that would keep young children from accessing the pool. Some of the CPSC recommendations are:

  • Barriers or fences must be at least four feet tall
  • Barriers or fences must be unclimbable
  • Nearby objects that could be used to climb over the barrier should be cleared away
  • Latches to gates should be self-closing and should be out of reach for children
  • There should be no openings in the barrier or fence so large that a child could squeeze through

Liability of homeowners for injuries

In many cases, the homeowner can be held liable for injuries and deaths resulting from children using the pool, with or without the homeowner's knowledge or consent. Under the law, homeowners have a duty to make sure that their property — including the pool — is reasonably safe. In many cases of child drowning, a homeowner is liable if he or she did not take reasonable precautions, such as erecting a fence or installing pool alarms, to protect children against the danger of drowning.

The law concerning homeowner liability is complicated and heavily depends on the surrounding circumstances. If you or a loved one has been injured from a pool accident, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can investigate the causes of the accident, advise you of your rights and help you recover all due compensation under the law.