6-year-old Child Drowns at Community Swimming Pool


A 6-year-old child drowned at a community swimming pool with 4 Lifeguards on duty. The child had been left unattended for several minutes in the shallow end of the pool while her guardian was in the locker room with another child. The child somehow progressed into the deeper section of the pool and her distress went unrecognized for approximately 4 – 6 minutes.

Prior to the incident, there were approximately 20 children participating in swim team practice in two lanes of the pool under the supervision of the swim coach. Two Lifeguards were positioned in the elevated Lifeguard stands, with two other Lifeguards on duty in the office or on the deck, supervising 6 people in the shallow end of the pool and 2 children using the diving boards in the diving section.

The 6-year-old non-swimmer became unconscious and floated motionless towards the deep section of the pool. When an adult patron finally observed the child, she alerted one of the Lifeguards who then implemented the facility’s Emergency Response Plans. The child was immediately removed from the pool and CPR was initiated and maintained until Fire Department EMS Personnel arrived on the scene. The child was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

During trial, when the deep-end Lifeguard was asked why she hadn’t noticed the child, she replied “I was looking in the deep end of the pool.” When asked how long she was watching the deep end only, she replied, “It couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes.” Needless to say, this surveillance procedure was in clear violation of the procedures advocated by the 10/20 and 30-Second Rules.

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