A tragic swimming pool accident recently took the life of a 2-year-old girl from Aurora, who was under the care of an unlicensed day care provider when she drowned. Approximately 20 to 25 Illinois children suffer fatal drowning deaths each year, and the latest swimming pool tragedy is a reminder of the serious risk that pools present for small children who are not properly supervised.
As the Chicago Tribune is reporting, the toddler fell into a backyard swimming pool at an at-home day care center on August 2, 2011. The above-ground pool was surrounded by a fenced-in deck and several stairs. The homeowner who runs the daycare facility noticed the child missing, then she noticed two open interior doors that led to the garage and backyard. She went outside and discovered the gate was unlatched and the child was in the water. After pulling the child out, she administered CPR and told her teenage son to call 911. Paramedics rushed the child to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are investigating neglect charges, because the daycare provider was watching seven small children at the time of the drowning, including three of her own biological children. Under Illinois law, daycare providers are allowed to watch up to eight unrelated children in their home, but they are required to have a license. Reports show that the women applied for a license back in June, but her application was still pending. Anyone who applies for a license is not permitted to operate until the application has been completely processed. Charges have yet to be filed, but DCFS took the daycare provider’s biological children into protective custody, placing them with a relative.
It appears to our Illinois swimming pool accident attorneys that the unlicensed daycare provider was clearly negligent in failing to exercise due care under these circumstances. Instead of properly supervising the 2-year-old who was under her care, she allowed the small child to wander into the backyard swimming pool and drown. . Children should not swim without supervision, and gates must be at least four feet tall. Additionally, rescue equipment should be easily available and an alarm system should be installed that detects movement around the pool. It is inexcusable for babysitters to be distracted by multiple children and negligently put one of those children’s lives in jeopardy.
Swimming pools present an obvious danger, and the injuries that result are often serious or fatal. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that at least 300 drowning deaths occur each year around the country, and homeowners face liability for accidents that happen in their pools. Insurance coverage may provide some, but not all, money for medical costs and legal action against the homeowner.
We know that if a deadly swimming pool accident is caused by the negligence of another party, such as the swimming pool owner, that person may be held legally responsible. When negligent supervision by a daycare provider results in the drowning death of a small child, the child’s family members have legal rights to file a claim on the child’s behalf. Swimming pool accidents often result in tragic consequences, and responsible parties need to be held accountable.