Swimming pool accidents are a common occurrence in California. In fact, in California and here in Orange County, it is the most common cause of death among children younger than 5 years of age. Most of it happens in backyard pools when an adult who is supposed to be watching looks away for just a moment. But many of these incidents also happen at community and private club pools where lifeguards are supposed to be watching over these kids.
Last week, a jury in Maryland which heard five days of heart-breaking testimony about the June 22, 2006 drowning death of a 5-year-old boy at a country club awarded the boy’s parents $4 million in damages. According to an article in The Baltimore Sun, jurors found the pool management company negligent for not providing appropriate training for its lifeguards and not sufficiently staffing their facility. The jurors awarded each of Connor Freed’s parents $2 million and $76 to symbolize Connor’s birthday – July 6.
Connor’s parents’ wrongful death lawsuit claimed that the 16 year-old life guard was inadequately trained. The company vigorously defended itself saying that the lifeguard had sufficient training, but the jury did not buy it. Connor’s parents, who have started a foundation called Connor Cares, are trying to change life guard legal requirements to one life guard per 25 swimmers from the one life guard per 50 swimmers as it now stands.
Here are some Web sites that provide comprehensive information on how you can keep your child safe in or around a swimming pool:
Children’s Safety Zone
American Academy of Pediatrics
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Understand the Dangers of Children and water
Call us for a consultation regarding any pool drowning.