Last month, a mother lost her three children at an Irving apartment pool
that was so murky that the emergency crews didn’t know how many
kids were in the pool. Imagine P. Allen’s heartbreak and the panic
that set in as she anxiously searched the pool for her missing children.
We’re not talking about toddlers here. Allen’s sons were 9
and 11, and her daughter was 10. The brothers clung to life for weeks
on life support before slipping away. Her daughter was dead when rescuers
pulled her lifeless body out of the water.
The three victims were black. No, the children could not swim, and neither
could their mother. According to USASwimming.org, 60% of Hispanic kids
and 70% of black kids don’t know how to swim.
The fatal drowning rate of black children between the ages of 5 and 14
is nearly three times that of white children. Among 11-12 year-olds, black
children drown in swimming pools 10 times more often than white children,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Why the disparity? Because the black children can’t swim. Why? Because
they are poor. Most of their parents can’t swim, nor can they afford
swimming lessons. According to USASwimming, when the parents can’t
swim, there’s only a 13% change that their children will learn how to swim.
When you take a look at apartment complexes like the one where Allen’s
three children died last month, the big, sparkling pool is the main attraction
that lures young families. At prices starting at $525 a month for a one
bedroom, the complex attracts low-income families, many of whom are minorities.
After these apartment complexes are opened for about 10 years, the young
professionals move out and the poorer families move in. That’s when
the swimming pools begin taking lives.
People familiar with Allen’s story will ask, “But where was
their mother?” She was there, watching her 3 and 6 year-olds. She
couldn’t swim either. She was helpless. Some will still blame her.
That doesn’t change the fact that the pool water was filthy, and
the visibility was next to nothing. If the pool had a lifeguard, or better
yet, if it had been drained and barricaded, those three children would
still be alive today. The cost and inconvenience of draining a pool is
not worth more than the lives of three children.
If these apartment complexes are going to rent to poor minority families
with a high percentage of renters who cannot swim, they need to either
staff their swimming pools with lifeguards, or they need to shut these
pools down for good.
Considering the fact that a dirty pool harbors unsafe germs, such as fecal
matter, E. coli, Cryptosporidium parasites, Giardia, and urine, you’d
think that these establishments can at least keep the pools cleaned while
kids are swimming in them!
Dallas Observer reports that the city of Irving cited this particular pool repeatedly
over the years for safety violations. Obviously, the citations had zero effect.
What the Community Can Do
What can the community do to get apartment owners’ attention? How
can we get them to think twice about the children’s safety? We can
teach churches, outreach programs, and social clubs about “wrongful
At The Zendeh Del Law Firm, we have over 30 years of combined experience
holding property owners accountable for their actions. Our legal team
is compassionate about our community, and we are effecting real change
for the victims of drowning accidents.
personal injury attorney familiar with the basic circumstances of a pool drowning can
achieve a lot more social justice and can save the lives of more children
than a bunch of citations from the city.
Plano personal injury lawyer from The Zendeh Del Law Firm today!