What if a Child Drowns at a Private Home, School, Day Care Center, or Summer Camp? Duty of Supervision

Swimming-Pool-Safety-150x150During the spring and summer months, there is an increase in the number of reported drownings and near drownings throughout the United States.  For many warm weather States like California, Texas, and Florida, there are risks of drowning just about year round due to the climate and the abundance of swimming pools, water parks, canals, rivers, and other water ways. Tragically, Texas holds the distinction for being the number one State for child pool drownings.  Children can be especially at risk for drowning when there is a lack of adult supervision.  Certainly, adult supervision should be provided any time that a child is in or near a swimming pool or other accessible swimming area or water way.
While it is difficult to believe or understand, many child drownings and near drownings take place when there are a number of adults in or near the swimming pool area.  How can this happen? How can a child drown with adults just feet away from the swimming pool area?  A drowning can take place in a swimming pool when the adults in the area are otherwise occupied in the acts of talking, eating, drinking, sleeping, surfing (the internet), texting, web browsing, watching a sporting event, or simply talking on a mobile phone.  The presence of adults in or near a swimming pool area is not the same as watchful and attention adult supervision.  As such, it is important to make sure that adult supervision is in place any time that a child is in or near a swimming pool.
Certainly, if a school, summer camp, or day care center is in session and swimming is a current activity – there should be designated and trained staff members in place to watch over the children and to place safety above all other concerns and distractions.  A swimming pool or swimming area is not a good place for multi-tasking.  As such, a person should not have a mobile device in hand and in use while assigned or engaged in the act of supervising children in or near a swimming pool area.
If a child drowns or experiences a near drowning experience, there may be a claim or case pursued on behalf of the child and / or the family of the child.  Like other personal injury cases, there must be a showing of the following four elements:
Breach of Duty;
Causation; and
If the drowning incident takes place at the home of an individual, there may be a case or claim against the homeowner for negligence.  The case or claim may be covered by an applicable homeowner’s insurance policy.  If a homeowner has a swimming pool in place and guests at the home including children, it is the duty of the homeowner to make sure that supervision is provided to all swimmers including children.  With respect to day care centers, schools, and summer camps, the level of care or duty may be enhanced to some degree because there is an expectation of training, professionalism, and specific safety measures for children enrolled in such a program.
David Wolf is the author of 11 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. The book has chapters on automobile accidents, day care center injuries, theme park injuries, swimming / aquatic related injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida attorney David Wolf handles personal injury cases throughout the State of Florida including incidents causing personal injuries to children.  David Wolf provides a Free Consultation on all personal injury matters.  As a partner of the law firm of Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A., David Wolf firmly believes in Giving a Voice to Injured Children and Their Families.
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