Swimming Pool Liability for Drownings or Near-Drownings

I live in a neighborhood where one person has a backyard portable pool that is a couple feet deep.  However, there are lots of little kids in the neighborhood – one of them is mine.  There is no fence around the yard where the pool is located.  I am worried sick about a kid falling in the pool and drowning, but when I spoke to the property owner about it he said "if you keep an eye on your kids nothing will happen."  What can I do about this?

Recent news articles have demonstrated the risk of such pools, reporting that one child drowns every five days in portable pools.  However, unless local zoning rules or homeowner association rules require that the pool be fenced, there is no way you can force your neighbor to fence in the pool or keep it drained when it is not being actively supervised by an adult.

The law requires that the property owner exercises reasonable care for the safety of those who come on his property.  In my view, the pool creates what is known as an "attractive nuisance,"  meaning that it is an instrument of danger that the owner knows that children will want to play in.  This puts the property owner at high risk of being sued if a child is injured or dies in his pool.

All you can do (absent a zoning or home owner’s rule) is do your best to keep a eye on your kids.  As soon as they are an appropriate age get them swimming lessons. And, hope and pray that your neighbor will have the good sense to either drain the pool when it is not being used under adult supervision or place a fence around it.


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