With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about swimming pool safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), the leading cause of unintentional death for toddlers (children between 1-4 years old) is drowning. Additionally, the CDC recorded an average of 3,500+ annual drownings in the United States. Of those drowned, an average of 1 in every 5 is under the age of 14.
These statistics tell us one thing for certain: swimming pools present a serious danger to children.
When children see a pool, the last thing on their mind is proper safety protocol—they see something fun that they want. Unfortunately, their attraction to these cool blue pools can be extremely dangerous.
To control the dangers swimming pools often present, attractive nuisance laws exist to encourage homeowners to keep unwanted visitors from harming themselves accidentally. To learn more about attractive nuisance laws as they apply to swimming pools, read below.
About Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents can result in severe injury or even death, especially when children are involved. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says that more than 5,000 people, on average, are admitted to the Emergency Room each year because of water-related injuries. And those are the lucky ones. In worst-case scenarios, swimming pool accidents result in fatal drownings.
Understanding Attractive Nuisance Laws
According to California law, all pool owners are responsible for preventable accidents that take place on their property—including any incidents involving their pool. So, if a child wanders into someone’s pool area, falls into their pool, and sustains harm, the pool owner could be liable.
Attractive nuisance laws are a bit more precise. According to attractive nuisance laws, property owners must take preemptive measures to protect children and teenagers from harming themselves on their property, if they own anything that could attract wandering children. Playground equipment, construction areas, old junkyards, and swimming pools are all examples of attractive nuisances.
Children are not held to trespassing laws in the same way that adults are because they do not yet grasp the importance of the concept. Also, young children do not understand how to identify and avoid dangerous situations—a swimming pool is not inherently dangerous in their minds, which makes it an attractive nuisance. Therefore, these laws exist to encourage homeowners to protect children from themselves.
To protect children from trespassing and harming themselves, homeowners are required by law fence off their pools, have doors leading to pools that open out and are equipped with closing mechanism to make sure door closes all of the way after use, have automatic locking devices on all points of entry from the outside that prevent children from accessing the pool, as well as other measures to guard children against the potential danger a pool presents.
Do You Have a Case?
If your child was harmed on someone else’s property and that property owner did not make an effort to keep wandering children from trespassing or harming themselves in their swimming pool, you may have a valid claim. In order to determine your next move, make sure you discuss the details of your situation with an experienced attorney at our firm.
Contact Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP to discuss your potential swimming pool injury case with our team.