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Failure to follow fencing citations lead to deadly pool accident

Hackensack residents benefit from the cooling qualities that swimming pools offer during the summer months. Children love swimming pools whether they are at the local community center or in a friend’s backyard. A safe pool with appropriate and properly maintained flooring and fencing is one that can be enjoyed, but without the proper safety precautions that love for pools can be a dangerous thing.

Two children were reported missing in Suffolk County this week after their mother noticed that they weren’t responding to her calls. Plans were drawn up for a search grid that would expand as necessary, but police didn’t have to go far to find the children. An officer happened to look into the neighbor’s backyard. When he noticed a shoe floating in the blackened pool water, it wasn’t long before everyone knew the worst had happened. The 7-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy were found floating unconscious in the pool and were pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts failed.

According to the police, the neighbor had been cited several times for failure to maintain proper fencing. The pool was an aboveground pool with a raised wooden deck surrounding the edges. There was also a short stockade fence surrounding the pool. Not only were the deck and fence sinking into the ground, but the smooth side of the fence was improperly facing inward, making it easy for children to climb it.

Owning a pool is a privilege that comes with responsibility not only to those who use the pool under ownership rights or by direct invitation but also to those that are attracted to the property such as young children. When an owner fails to construct and maintain proper safety guards, even children that trespass onto the property may have a claim for any injury that arises.

Source: U.S. News NBC, “Brother, sister drown in neighbor’s uncovered pool,” April 15, 2013

If your child has been hurt on a neighbor’s or community facility, our Hackensack Swimming Pool Accident page provides more information about these types of claims.

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