Backyard pools are a staple of many Southern California homes. And while California’s climate allows for swimming all year, summer is an especially attractive time to be in the pool. Sadly, this time of year is also associated with a higher risk of child drownings.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were about 363 drowning deaths annually from 2014 through 2016. All victims included in these statistics were under the age of 15, and nearly three in every four victims were under age five.
The CPSC also notes that June is the month with the highest rate of drownings, which it calls “submersion fatalities.” Approximately 72 percent of these deaths occur in residential areas like backyard pools and spas.
If you own a pool, it is critical to keep it secured by a fence or other barrier that will not allow small children to wander into the area unsupervised. Even if you don’t have small children in your own house, your neighbors might.
As a pool owner (especially if you have children), you will likely be hosting young swimmers in your pool throughout the summer. It is very important to provide adult supervision at all times whenever children are swimming or otherwise in the pool area. It only takes a moment of inattention for a terrible and fatal accident to occur.
What the law says
If you have a pool but don’t have kids, you could still face legal liability if you fail to put up a fence or other barrier. California recognizes a legal doctrine known as “attractive nuisance,” which refers to features or conditions of a property that might draw curious children to them. Unsecured pools definitely qualify as an attractive nuisance.
If your child was injured (or worse) in an unsecured pool or due to lack of supervision while in a pool owner’s care, you may be able to seek compensation in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Please discuss your rights and legal options with an attorney in your area.