Another Pool Party Results in Drowning, Finger Pointing… and a Settlement


Tom J. Griffiths, ED.D ::::

It is important to understand and appreciate that more than 50% of drownings in America occur during group pool outings, especially pool parties. This is largely due to the fact that pool parties create miscommunication between those hosting the party and those attending.

When a catastrophic event takes place during a pool party, much finger pointing occurs; particularly when young children are involved.  Parents and/or supervisors socialize and, as a result, are often distracted from watching the children in the pool. ALL pool parties need lifeguards, regardless of whether the party is held at a public or private pool.

In this particularly tragic case, the home/pool owners thought it would be nice if their nanny, and the neighborhood nannies, had a pool party for their own children. The home owners assumed that the nannies would watch the children they brought to their back yard pool. However, the homeowners failed to appreciate that they had a deep water pool that most children could not stand up in. No attempt was made to ascertain who could swim and who could not. Additionally, there were no lifejackets available for the young non-swimmers; lifejackets are the cheapest and most effective insurance a pool owner can have. Finally, a lifeguard or designated “kid watcher” who is competent in the water was not hired for the party, even though pool parties are notorious for producing distractions and a lack of supervision.

This was an extremely difficult case, as most pool party drownings are, with a settlement being reached for the plaintiff.  (Tom Griffiths, ED.D can be reached at 215-659-2010 or via email at

Categories: Case Studies


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