by Attny Jesse E. Guerra, Jr.
According to a recent study, Texas had more pool drownings in 2019 than in recent years. Certainly, this is a tragic statistic given that Texas has vast resources and has initiated extensive outreach to promote swimming pool safety. As an aquatic litigation pioneer, I have seen a decline in new cases in the last few years.
To be quite honest, I am happy to see a decline in cases as a result of efforts made through public awareness, and at times, due to costly litigation taken against some pool owners/operators who refused to take action to make their pools safer unless juries or litigation made them change their minds.
So reading this article “Texas Has Deadliest Rate of Child Pool and Spa Drownings” has left me perplexed and I have questions. I have always said that in addition to parents and people supervising children in pools, pool owners/operators need to be educated and held responsible for keeping their pools safe and compliant with pool codes and standards.
There is no excuse for pool owners to allow the public access to an unsafe pool. If you are not able to keep your pool water clear where the drain is visible in the deepest part of the pool, operate safe compliant drains/suction systems, maintain proper safety equipment so that it is visible and functional, then absolutely close the pool. The solution is as simple as that. Don’t allow unsafe pools to be open for public or private use.
Another area of concern is pool accessibility and security. Fences and enclosures that prevent easy access to toddlers must be maintained and checked on a regular basis for any openings that exceed four inches.
While we can certainly do more to educate parents, it’s equally imperative to educate the owners/operators who need to be made aware of their legal obligations and civic responsibilities.
We need safety groups to increase their focus and outreach efforts. They must fully understand the importance of their role in educating the community on pool safety issues and helping to prevent pool accidents and related deaths.
The personal injury attorneys of Carabin Shaw provided the information herein as a community service.