A 17-month-old child drowned in a Glendale pool after he used a doggie door to crawl outside of a relative's house, according to local police. The child was found floating face down in the water and estimates put him there for about 15 minutes. Though rescue efforts, including CPR, were attempted, the boy died of his injuries.
A similar incident happened recently in Mesa where another child crawled through a doggie door and got access to a backyard pool. That child also died, leaving experts to alert parents to the dangers doggie doors may pose to small children.
Our hearts go out to the victims' families in both tragic cases.
Children are often drawn to pools and other bodies of water which is why most states have laws regarding safety requirements for public and private pools. Arizona is all too familiar with pool drownings since the states sees the second most drownings each year. This is due to a combination of reasons, including the high number of pools per capital, the extended length of outdoor pool season due to the weather, the number of year-round pools, and general negligence on the part of pool owners, operators, and those supervising small children.
Swimming pool deaths are avoidable and can be prevented with proper safety procedures including a fence that cannot be breached by young children. As these recent drownings illustrate, though, a fence that uses a house or other building as one wall may not be sufficient if a child can find another route to access the pool.
The average doggie door is big enough to allow a child to pass through as easily as a dog. If a home has a doggie door that leads to a pool or to an area that provides access to a pool, officials now caution parents and others to lock the doggie door when children are home. If kids cannot access a pool, they will not be able to be harmed by the water.
The owner of a pool is responsible with making it a safe and secure area that is not able to be accessed by others, including small children. If an owner fails to keep a pool secure or allows a child unauthorized or unintended access to the water, the owner may be liable for any injuries the child sustains. This can include medical and rehabilitative bills in the case of an injury or damages for loss of the life of a child who drowns in the water.