Castro Valley Swimming Pool Drowning: Lack of Supervision?

The tragic case of a six year old boy drowning at a public pool in Castro Valley points out the importance of good supervision of young children swimming. The death occurred at the Castro Valley High School Swim Center. According to the report, there were 44 visitors at the time and three life guards on duty. I am not condemning the life guards without knowing the facts, but my question is “Were the lifeguards doing their job and keeping a close watch over the area or were they talking with others and being distracted?”

Because drowning incidents can cause severe brain injuries or even death, pool owners, both public and private, must take all reasonable steps to make sure young children are properly supervised when in the pool.

Drownings are the leading cause of death for children in California who are under the age of four. A swimming pool is 14 times more likely to cause death than an automobile accident. There are many steps that can be taken to prevent drownings–closer supervision is important, but other good practices such as proper fencing, preventing pooling of water on covers, etc are also important. For a comprehensive listing of swimming pool safety practices check on the State of California’s website on Drowning Prevention.

My heart goes out to the family of the Castro Valley boy and others who have lost children in drowning accidents. As an Oakland brain injury attorney, I have seen the devastating effects of brain injuries caused by drownings. If you own or manage a swimming pool, I urge you to take all safety precautions to prevent swimming pool drownings. If you have life guards working for you, urge them to be vigilant and not be distracted by friends or activities. Young children’s lives are in their hands. Let’s do all we can to prevent these tragedies from recurring.


The Oakland Tribune, July 27, 2010, Boy drowns in Castro Valley Pool

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