Lawsuits Closing Public Swimming Pools Forever
October 25, 2014
When public pools close, inner-city and non-affluent children don’t have anywhere relatively safe to swim. Kids are going to find a way to cool off so they head to a river or quarry or canal where the risk of drowning dramatically increases. More children will drown because lawsuits, the threat of lawsuits and resulting over-regulation by health departments (by no fault of their own- their hand is being forced to create more CYA codes and directives) puts financial strain on administrators, recreation departments, property managers and apartment complex owners that give them few fiscal alternatives but to close their pools.
Water has become a great market for lawsuit$. A child has a seizure in a public pool and drowns: the pool owner gets sued for failure to provide lifeguards (or some other perverse rationale) and is forced to close due to the risk of more potential and inevitable lawsuits and evaporating funding. Another example is a drowning in which a negligent pool service company failed to properly install a drain cover and a child tragically lost their life. The pool service company was sued, the wholesale company that sold the drain cover to the pool service company was sued and the manufacturer who made the drain cover was sued. The wholesale house and the manufacturer settle out of court even though they lack any liability in the occurrence. Appropriately, the the pool service company was sued but predictably, its the manufacturer and the wholesale house who pay the most because they have the deepest pockets 🙁 . In reality, who pays the highest price? The other children in the neighborhood who no longer have the opportunity to swim because another pool is unavailable.
Lawsuits, and the threat of lawsuits, are the reason swimming pools are closing and can’t afford to reopen. It’s just not worth the risk for swimming pool owners/ directors. They are in business to make money, break even or provide a valuable community service at a minimal loss. When the swimming pool becomes a financial albatross why would they keep it open by exposing themselves to ever-increasing costs to remain compliant and worse yet the economic risk and loss?
Potential. What an interesting word. Is anyone accountable anymore? Is there such a thing as assumed risk? Is someone else always to blame when accidents occur? It’s devastating when a child drowns but is seems its always the parents (and their predator attorneys) golden ticket to a financial payday.
Providing more public swimming pools provides more opportunity for kids to learn basic life saving swim skills and in turn saves lives by decreasing child drowning. The closures of public pools is destructive and denies opportunities for children to learn water safety and ultimately leads to more tragedy.
Ultimately it is our children who suffer when public swimming pools close.