When Children Are Harmed in Texas Swimming Pools
It is every parent’s worst nightmare: A tragedy like the one that occurred recently here in Texas, where a baby boy was found face-down, drowned in a pool. The child—only one year old—was reported missing in Texas City and unfortunately, EMTs and doctors could not save him once found.
The issue brings to light just how important it is for home owners – and everyone – to take precautions so that children cannot get to what are often called “attractive nuisances” like these, which can often lead to injury or even cost them their lives. Even when children are not invited over to use a neighbor’s pool, they can of course, sometimes still access them if there are not gates and proper locks involved, and the homeowner can be found liable in some circumstances.
Texas Leads the Nation in The Highest Number of Pool Drowning Deaths & Injuries
This is, unfortunately, not a random happenstance here in Texas: Texas reportedly leads in the nation in pool drowning deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning, and two are under the age of 14. In fact, drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. And for those who survive but are injured, those injuries can include severe brain damage and learning disabilities, memory issues, and permanent loss of basic functioning.
What Does “Attractive Nuisance” Mean? What Texas Law Dictates
While property owners owe certain “duties” when it comes to safety and those who are invited onto their property, trespassers are often excluded from this duty if/when they are injured on that property. However, Texas abides by the attractive nuisance doctrine, which essentially means that property owners are still liable for harm to children – even if they are trespassing – if something like a pool that poses danger is on their land and they haven’t taken reasonable steps to prevent children from interacting with that dangerous object. This is why Texas mandates that anyone who owns a pool has it enclosed by a fence that is at least 48 inches high, with openings that are less than four inches wide, self-closing and latching gates, throwing ropes, reaching poles, and covers for the pool. Other measures that can help include putting up signs warning of the potential danger.
Contact Our Texas Personal Injury Attorneys with Any Questions
An accident like this can never be reversed, and a family can never be made whole again after losing a child. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to negligent premises issues on someone else’s property, contact our experienced Houston premises liability attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help ensure that justice is done.