Toddler Drowns in Apartment Complex Pool on Barren Springs Dr in Harris County, TX
Harris County, TX -- September 23, 2021, a 3-year-old boy was pronounced dead after being found in an apartment complex pool in north Harris County.
Authorities say the incident began around 5:00 p.m. when the child reportedly when missing at an apartment complex on the 700 block of Barren Springs Drive, north of Greenspoint. Preliminary investigation suggests the child wandered out of the gate of of a first-floor apartment's patio, then went to the pool. The gate to the pool area was not locked and the child got inside, then fell into the pool.
The boy was found unresponsive a short time later and was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Swimming Pool Accident on Barren Springs Drive in Harris County
First and foremost, I am not here to speculate or speak about adult supervision for that boy. Most parents and guardians can attest that all it takes is the blink of an eye for a child to slip out of sight. My main concern lies more with how the toddler managed to access the pool all by himself. According to news stories residents said it was closed at the time of this incident, but the unlocked gate that a 3-year-old managed to open tells another story.
Accidents of this nature are unfortunately far too common and typically fall within premises liability law. Under premises liability, the owner of a business or property must remove or secure all foreseeable hazards that potentially could harm someone with a right to be there. If someone is injured by a property condition that should have been addressed, then the property owner may be considered legally responsible.
Swimming pools in particular are the source of many serious incidents like this one and generally fall within the category of "attractive nuisances." Basically, there are hazards which curious young children are naturally drawn to--swimming pools being one of the most common and most harmful if a child falls in.
It is generally the property owner's responsibility to secure such hazards to prevent accidents just like this one. For pools that means putting a fence around them that a child can't climb and ensuring the gate to it is locked, which appears to have been neglected in this instance. Taking the proper precautions can save lives, so failing to do so may warrant consequences.
Premises liability exists to enforce safety standards among property owners. Without these laws protecting customers, residents, and attendees, business owners and managers could leave possible hazards untouched and let things rust, rot, and generally be dangerous to people who should reasonably expect to remain safe. It's unclear so far whether the apartment complex breached its responsibilities to the child and his family by failing to properly secure that pool, but the matter certainly bears further investigation.