What if a Child Drowns at a Neighbor’s Pool, Community Pool, Day Care Center, or Water Park?

close-up of colorful rubber ducks at the pool side (shallow depth of field)

Swimming Pool Drowning      Risks to Children

Even though the risks are well known or should be well known to all adults, some how children including but not limited to toddlers drown every year at private pools, community pools, day care centers, and water parks.  Even one child, who drowns as a result of a preventable incident, is one child too many.  There are many reasons out there for this ongoing problem during the summer months and other times of the year.  It is important to spot the problems and put preventative measures in place to prevent any further drowning incidents.

Supervision
Supervision is a very broad term. Let’s first discuss what actions do not necessarily equate to supervision.   A group of children are swimming in a private pool. The children range in ages from 4 years old to 7 years old.  The swimming ability and experience of each child is quite varied.  There are two adults in the area of the pool.  Does this amount to supervision?  Well, more facts are needed to determine if supervision was truly in place.  If the two adults are both entrenched in conversation while also texting and Facebooking the whole time while the children are in the pool, then – under these facts – one would question whether there was any supervision in place for the children.  If the parents were at full attention keeping their eyes on the children and all parts of the pool without distraction, then this would be supervision.  Many public pools have lifeguards.  Some do not.  Even with lifeguards in place, parents and other adult supervisors should still keep a close eye of their children. 
Life Jackets versus Toys and Blow Up Rafts
For young and inexperienced swimmers, parents and child care providers should consider the use of a life jacket.  This is quite different from floats, water wings, and blow up rafts. While these other items may be somewhat helpful, they do not quite compare to a properly fitting life jacket.
CPR Training
Even with supervision in place, incidents can happen.  Minutes and even seconds matter. It is important that at least one of the adult supervisors or child care providers is trained in CPR so that quick action can be taken.
Fencing, Enclosures, and Alarms
During planned swim times, parents and child care providers can put the proper supervision in place to help prevent drowning incidents from taking place. However, children often go into swimming pool and aquatic areas without proper adult supervision because children will seek out adventures even when they should not.   A swimming pool or water area is commonly referred to as an attractive nuisance.  It is an area that is somewhat enticing to a child who fails to recognize or process the dangers of the activity.  Because of this, it is vital that fencing, enclosures, and when appropriate alarms are placed in and around the swimming pool or water area to prevent children from heading into these dangerous – attractive nuisance areas. 
All of the above safety measures and more can help prevent a drowning incident; however, all the safety measures in the world will not mean much to a parent who is now dealing with an aftermath of a drowning or near drowning incident.   A parent may be able to pursue a claim or case on behalf of the injured child if the lack or insufficiency of the safety measures above caused or significantly contributed causing the drowning or near drowning incident. 
A drowning incident case or near drowning incident case can be established by the following elements:
1. Duty;
2. Breach of Duty;
3. Causation; and
4. Damages
In the State of Florida, the fault or comparative fault of the child (if 6 years of age or older) can be considered.  There may also be blame on others.   Because of the complexity of Florida law and the analysis of drowning related cases, it is important for parents to contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, guidance, and legal representation.
The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Swimming Pool and Water Park Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.