One of the pleasures of summer for many New Mexico children is swimming on a hot day. However, whether they are swimming at a community pool or in their own backyards, swimming can be a dangerous activity for children. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the number one cause of accidental death for children between one and four years old.

Between 2011 to 2013, on average, 390 children between the ages of zero to 14 died in pools or spas. Of the fatal drowning deaths, 76 percent involved children under five years old, and, of those, 67 percent involved children between one and three years old. Of the children between the ages of zero to 14 that died after drowning in a swimming pool, 71 percent were boys and 29 percent were girls.

Location also played a role in drowning deaths of children under age 14. Of these children, 75 percent lost their lives at a residential pool. Of these, 58 percent were in-ground pools, 17 percent were above-ground pools and 9 percent were portable pools.

In the end, it is important that those who own pools take the proper steps to keep the pool safe. The pool should be properly maintained and there should be a proper fence surrounding the pool that is at least four feet or higher. It may also be necessary to install alarms at pool gates. If it is a community pool, it may be necessary to employ a lifeguard. If a property owner fails to keep their pool area safe and injuries to children result causing permanent injury or death, that owner may in some cases face liability.

Source: Pool Safely, “CPSC Calls for All Children to Learn to Swim in 2014, All Families to Take the Pool Safely Pledge,” Accessed June 5, 2017