Tragedy struck a Staten Island family in July 2014, when a three-year-old boy died in a swimming pool accident at a daycare center where his mother worked. After climbing a fence next to the pool, the boy went into the pool but was unable to swim and drowned.
His death is just one in a large trend of pool-related fatalities among young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children between the ages of one and four have by far the highest drowning rate. In fact, it is estimated that 30 percent of all children between one and four years old who die from an unintentional injury do so by drowning — and most of the time their deaths occur in home swimming pools.
If a family believes their child’s drowning death resulted from negligence, such as due to lack of adequate supervision, they may have a basis for legal action. For example, in the recent Staten Island case, the family could argue that the daycare center was negligent for having a fence low enough for a 3-year old to scale and for leaving the young boy unattended long enough for him to get into the pool.
Pool safety is critically important, particularly on community property and at daycare facilities where many children might be around. Owners should take the following measures to prevent unnecessary deaths or other injuries:
- Make sure the pool has a fence around all sides that is a minimum of four feet high
- Use latching, self-closing gates that open outward, and make sure kids cannot reach the latches
- Consider additional safety features like alarms to alert when someone enters the pool area
- Lock pool area when it is not open or in use
- Keep toys away from the pool and deck to prevent children’s distraction
- Maintain close supervision over young children when they are in the pool area
To learn more about taking legal action in New York City after a pool accident that resulted from negligence, consult a personal injury attorney.