Supreme Court of Georgia Holds That Not Every Child Tragedy is a Crime

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This story is sickeningly sad, but the original verdict made it intensely worse. A reader writes:

Marta Corvi was grateful when the Juarez family in Dallas, Georgia, told her she could live with them until she found a job. All she had to do in exchange was cook, clean, and watch their 5 year old, Sophia Juarez. One day in June of 2012, Corvi brought her granddaughter Mia, also age 5,  over for a sleepover. The girls giggled, played and woke up early the next, rainy morning eager to start all over.

They asked if they could swim and Marta said no. Instead, she told them to play dress-up in their room while she cleaned up the mess they’d made in the kitchen. She started to feel dizzy, and told Sophia’s 13-year-old brother that she was going to the basement to take her diabetes medication. She called a friend, and at the end of a 45-minute phone call, Mia and Sophia were dead.

Yes. This story is as sad and  horrible as it gets. Turns out the two girls had snuck, fully-dressed, past Sophia’s brother, who had fallen asleep on his bed with his headphones on.

Meantime, Corvi had done something all parents do. She’d left the two children to play in their room. She knew that swimming unattended was dangerous — that’s why she told them not to do it and asked the teen to keep an eye out, just in case. Nonetheless, Georgia prosecutors treated it as a crime. They charged Corvi with cruelty to children, a felony. When she was convicted, they asked for a 10-year prison sentence, but a compassionate judge sentenced her to time served. Still, Corvi, a Uruguayan national, was deported after more than a year in jail.

On February 16, amazingly, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that Corvi was not criminally negligent. She was acquitted by all seven members of the court.

While this was a good outcome for Corvi, the fact remains that prosecutors are getting more and more comfortable with charging caretakers as criminals for behavior that would have been normal 20 or 30 years ago.

No one is suggesting that adults allow children to play near a pool, unattended! Of course not! Only that sometimes, in even the most loving and attentive of families, things go wrong. A perfect storm brews and tragedy ensues, not due to cruelty or negligence. Due only to the fact that not every parenting moment can be perfect, and once in a while, when it’s not, fate intervenes.

Blaming us for being cruel when we’re only being human has to stop. We can’t expect parents or kids to live under the threat that any accident can lead to a prison sentence. – Free-Range Reader

The Supreme Court of Georgia shows compassion and common sense in a neglect case.

The Supreme Court of Georgia showed compassion and  an understanding in a neglect case.

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http://www.gasupreme.us/sc-op/pdf/s14a1705.pdf

 

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61 Responses to Supreme Court of Georgia Holds That Not Every Child Tragedy is a Crime

  1. sigh March 26, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Criminal, no. Tragic and foreseeable, yes.

    Have to say that even though I am a huge fan of Free Range, I am not a huge fan of home swimming pools. I don’t know how I would function raising young kids if there were that obvious a death trap on my property.

    No matter how much you spell out the rules with very young children, they can disobey.

    I also see this as an argument to “drown proof” any child 3 or older. I witnessed the somewhat uncomfortable “sink or swim” type of “lessons” in a wealthy part of Connecticut once. Since so many families had their own private pools, they hired a coach to get all their tiny kids used to falling in the water and reaching the edge to safety again, the hard way.

    Better than a story like this, though.

  2. oncefallendotcom March 26, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    The GA Supreme Court actually got one right.

    Accidents happen. But lots of kids swim alone or with other kids and no one drowns. I did when I was a kid and somehow avoided drowning.

  3. Warren March 26, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Awesome job by the courts.

    @sigh,
    Backyard pools are not death traps. My parents have had one for over thirty years. Through having kids, grandkids, and all sorts of kids visiting, staying over. Including the whole neighborhood knew the pool was there. Not one incident, not even a close call. The worst things were a couple scraped knees or stubbed toes.

    Seeing a backyard pool as a death trap is no different than the irrational fear of stranger abductions.

  4. Miriam March 26, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    It is so sad that ‘we’ see people go through such a tragedy and then believe that the law must punish them because losing a child isn’t punishing enough.

  5. Mark Roulo March 26, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Regarding pools as death traps…

    The CDC says that the USA loses about 3,500 people per year to accidental non-boating related drownings. 20% of these are 14 or younger (so about 700).

    It also appears that the USA has about 8,000,000 residential pools (and about 250,000 communal pools).

    Score these odds as good or bad as you wish.

  6. Donna March 26, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    “The CDC says that the USA loses about 3,500 people per year to accidental non-boating related drownings. 20% of these are 14 or younger (so about 700).”

    And only a subset of those drownings are in pools. People drown in lakes, rivers, ponds and other natural bodies of water.

  7. Warren March 26, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    Mark,
    Non-boating related? So that includes oceans, lakes, rivers, bathtubs, hot tubs, public pools, private pools and backyard pools.

    Put it this way, untill people start referring to cars as death traps, leave the pools alone.

  8. Gina March 26, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    I know this has come up before….I do not believe that Marta should be charged with a crime. But a house with young kids should have a locked fence around the pool.

  9. lollipoplover March 26, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Drownings occur even when children are fully supervised. I was a lifeguard and taught swim lessons in high school, but at our community swim lessons (I wasn’t working that day), the younger sister of one of my classmates drown while right under (in the “blind spot”) the lifeguard stand. She was surrounded by parents and lifeguards.No one saw her until it was too late.

    That is why they are called accidents. You can have safety gates and supervision but nothing is failproof. Trying to place blame on every child death and punishing already grieving family isn’t the answer. It won’t change the outcome or help the family. It could happen to anyone. Be grateful it wasn’t you.

  10. JKP March 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Gina – In the US, you have to have a locked fence around your swimming pool whether you have children or not (so neighborhood children can’t sneak into your pool and drown). But most homes with a pool have an entrance from the house into the fenced pool area.

    My parents have an alarm on the pool door, so a siren sounds if someone opens the pool door. You can also get an alarm for the pool itself that sounds if something goes in the pool. But even with this features, it’s possible to forget to arm the alarm, possible to forget to lock the pool door, or, once a child is clever enough, they could unlock and disarm the door themselves. Such cases are tragic accidents, not criminal.

    Also, something people sometimes forget. Dogs and cats can fall in pools and drown too. So if you have pets and a pool, it’s important to put them in the pool once a month and show them how to swim to the steps and get out.

  11. Warren March 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Gina,
    Our backyard is fenced in. But are you talking about a fence just around the pool, within the backyard? That I refuse to do. Not the type of backyard we want, and not a backyard made for fun.

  12. John March 26, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m certainly glad the Supreme Court of Georgia used common sense when acquitting this lady BUT it never should have come down to that. The Georgia Prosecutors who convicted this lady were incompetent in my opinion and should be made to provide compensation to this woman for the pain and anguish they caused her. This is what really galls me anytime a child gets hurt or dies in some home accident. The American mentality is that there always has got to be some adult who needs to be held responsible. Why? Accidents happen and I’m sure the 13-year-old boy, as well as Ms. Corvi, feels terrible about it. But you know something? 13-year-olds have been babysitting younger kids down thru the ages and it’s not the first time nor will it be the last time when a 13-year-old was asked to watch his or her younger siblings. That is how you teach kids responsibility as well as make life easier for the parents. So now are we gonna prosecute any parent who has their 13-year-old child babysit younger siblings?

    Our litigious society and fear of being sued and prosecuted is causing us to completely take responsibility away from our kids when kids are in dire need of learning responsibility. There was no malice or flagrant neglect in this case so this poor lady should not have been prosecuted to begin with.

  13. Warren March 26, 2015 at 12:38 pm #

    JKP,
    Is that all of the US, because I would have thought backyard pools would come under local bylaws as they do here?

    Where we are, a fence around the backyard itself is all we need.

  14. Mandy March 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    While you take every care to protect your children, accidents happen. This is why they are called accidents! Finally, a court is waking up and understanding accidents are not a crime – hallelujah!

  15. JKP March 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Warren, you’re right. There’s no federal law, but most states and/or counties have laws requiring fences around pools. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t.

    Here are the requirements state by state:
    http://www.signs.com/blog/state-by-state-guide-to-pool-signage-and-fencing-requirements/

  16. JKP March 26, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    Warren – and a fence around the whole backyard counts as fencing the pool.

  17. Emily March 26, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    I agree with Warren–backyard pools aren’t death traps. They’re fun, and a great way to get/stay healthy, a great way to meet the neighbours, a focal point for summer birthday parties, and while they may have some drawbacks, “death trap” doesn’t come to mind for me immediately. If I was asked to list the drawbacks of a backyard pool, I’d say they’re expensive, they can be a pain to clean, and I’m Canadian, so that’d mean the pool could only really be used a few months of the year, but pools aren’t inherently dangerous. In fact, I’d say that a backyard pool in the hands of someone like Warren, or myself, who’s a competent swimmer, could actually make kids safer. This especially applies to Warren, because he used to be a lifeguard, so he could supervise kids swimming more effectively than just a regular parent, and he could even teach kids to swim, to make them safer on their own, even without supervision. So many people fall into the trap of thinking “adult supervision = safety,” but that isn’t necessarily true, especially around pools. When I was fourteen, and my family rented a cottage, we were swimming one evening, and my brother (then eleven) was having chest pains, and he couldn’t swim back in, so I had to swim out and get him, and bring him back in with a cross-chest carry that I’d learned in Bronze Medallion. Now, background on my family–my mom and I are good swimmers, and my dad and my brother aren’t. So, after that day, the family rule changed from “Kids can’t swim without adult supervision” to “Male family members can’t swim without female supervision,” because my dad wouldn’t have been able to do what I did. So, the best water safety tip I can think of is to teach your kids to swim if you’re able, or put them in swimming lessons if you’re not. Make sure they’re the right kind of swimming lessons too, that don’t rely excessively on flotation devices, and actually give the kids a chance to learn to swim.

  18. Emily Morris March 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    What an awful story, but good call on the Court. Accidents and tragedies happen. It’s terrible they do, but that is life.

    I personally am not comfortable with a backyard pool, but I like to think the majority of backyard pool owners are sensible owners who follow the laws as well as common sense.

  19. Emily Morris March 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    And, oh, as a former lifeguard and camp waterfront directors, I’m a big fan of swimming lessons. Swimming is a potentially life-saving skill as well as just as a good general skill for one to have.

    At the camp I worked out, a certain level had to passed on the swimming test to attend this big ol’ exciting woodland/river trek. As waterfront director, it was my job to administer the swim test. The majority of kids who wanted to go on the trek either knew they could swim well enough to pass the test or admitted they couldn’t and found another activity.

    I spent the better part of the week trying to teach this 18-year-old boy how to swim. Poor guy had never been in a pool/body of water before that week and he really wanted to go on that trek. Long short story, I wasn’t able to pass him on the test. I still think how sad that was that he had never been given the chance to learn to swim.

  20. Emily March 26, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Another thing–would getting an above-ground pool be even a little bit safer with small children than an in-ground pool? I mean, it’s not a fence, but the child would actually have to climb a ladder to get into the pool, and therefore, they couldn’t accidentally fall in.

  21. Warren March 26, 2015 at 5:04 pm #

    Emily,
    The expesnse of the pool is nothing compared to the benefits.

    Only a few months of the year? Phhhhhht, all year round here, same with the hot tub on the deck. Nothing like swimming some nite time laps to unwind, then hop in the hot tub and soak while the snow is falling. After a long day, grab some red wine, soak in the hot tub, and relax, relax, relax.

    As for above ground pools being safer? Nope, no way. One reason only, unless you climb up, you cannot see in the pool.

  22. E March 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    @Emily — who knows what the stats are, but a kid might climb the step to “just look” and fall in anyway.

    Terribly tragic story with so much loss.

  23. Dee B March 26, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    We’re missing an important part of this story — why are there so many private, backyard pools, even in towns that have a large community swimming pool Answer: In the name of child safety, almost anything fun at the pools has been banned.

    We used to belong to our community pool, but over the years they banned jumping in the water, running anywhere near the pool, diving off the edge, splashing, diving in any manner except straight forward from the diving board (have you noticed the US is no longer competitive in diving, which we used to dominate — that’s why!), having food anywhere but in a small zone, plus any child under 8 who’s not a master swimmer must be accompanied by an adult — even in the baby pool!

    It’s just not fun anymore, so we haven’t renewed our membership. But those with money have built their own pools, so the kids can have fun.

    Community pools build local connections among families, give children and adults exercise, and save the environment from enormous demands for water, chlorine and electricity (to heat the pools). But “child safety” has made them deadeningly unfun.

  24. Eric S March 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Many, many cases should never have gone to court, let alone get a conviction. But because lawyers and judges use these cases to propel them to higher positions or recognition, they try to make as many convictions as a possible. Just like corporations who manipulate the minds of consumers to make sales. Always a hidden agenda with people like these, at the sacrifice of the rest of us. Including children.

  25. Eric S March 26, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    Or, for those parents with pools, if you really want peace of mind, teach your children to swim. At a VERY young age. Like this little guy. http://on.fb.me/1CeGOkQ This aren’t special kids, they are your typical kids who LEARN. This goes with any other learning experience for them. This is the resiliency, intelligence, and simplicity of children. To understand everything as it IS. Not as we want it to be for them. There are places that help parents with their infants to swim, just like the kid in the video.

  26. Warren March 26, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Dee B.

    Do you have a backyard pool?

    It has nothing to do with a community pool and its rules.
    1. I can swim when I want 24/7/365.
    2. Sense of community. Pretty much every weekend we have family and or friends over during the summer.
    3. We can eat, drink and make as much noise as we want, as long as we want. Nothing beats a half hammered cannonball contest.
    4. And nothing like a midnite skinny dip with the better half.

    As for the expesnse, the chlorine, the gas for heating, the electricity, the water blah blah blah…………we worked for it, we can afford it, so to hell with it, we have it.

  27. Tiny Tyrant's Mom March 26, 2015 at 5:58 pm #

    This reminds me of a recent tragedy in my area. A four year boy wandered into a neighbor’s backyard and drowned in their swimming pool. A horrible accident, but not something that’s easily preventable. Fortunately, the authorities here appear to be treating it like the accident it was, instead of a case of criminal child neglect.

  28. Dee B March 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    @Warren: No, we don’t have a pool and cannot afford one. So the Draconian rules governing the community pool mean that we don’t swim.

  29. Donald March 26, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    One of the ways how to measure how civilized a country is to observe their law system. Do they use law to inflict revenge? They certainly did in this original ruling.

  30. Emily March 26, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

    @Warren–You don’t have to tell me the benefits of a backyard pool–I grew up desperately wanting one, but never got one. I can see my parents’ reasoning now, because we lived within walking distance of the beach, but I still wanted a pool, because 24/7 access in the warmer months sounded pretty good, and you’re right, it does build community. Anyway, I’m just curious; where in Canada do you live where the weather outside is conducive to swimming outside in your pool all year round? I’m from Barrie, Ontario, and I think it got down to -29 C a few times this year.

  31. sexhysteria March 27, 2015 at 4:02 am #

    Every home pool or pond where small children are present should be protected by a locked fence. That was the parents’ mistake. There have been even more tragic cases than this: A caregiverer who left a four-year-old alone in a pool to answer the telephone!

  32. C. S. P. Schofield March 27, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    Somebody said the Prosecutors were incompetent. Nonsense. The Prosecutors were corrupt; they wanted to gain another notch in their belt and saw this poor woman was an opportunity to do so, rather than as a human being. They deserve to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Sadly, they probably won’t even lose their jobs.

  33. E March 27, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    @Dee B, Sorry I call BS on that. We have a neighborhood pool and a pool available at our YMCA and there is NO shortage of families and kids having a ball at both all the time. I live in a large neighborhood and I can tell you that not 1 person has installed an above or below ground pool since we’ve lived here (20 years). I have never met one person who quit either facility because of the rules.

    I totally get that some of the rules might be a pain (although I have yet to observe either being that inconvenient at our facilities), but its seems extreme to prevent your children from swimming entirely because you don’t like the rules and you can’t afford a pool (neither can I). They would rather not swim at all than be with friends on a hot day in the summer at the pool!?

    My parents put in in-ground pool…when I was a freshman in college (!) and they had an empty nest. Because that’s when they could afford it. I’ve been a member of a pool (or working at one) and/or used my parents’ pool all my life. I can’t imagine growing up w/o that experience every summer (and yes, I realize that’s a luxury).

  34. pentamom March 27, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    “Another thingwould getting an above-ground pool be even a little bit safer with small children than an in-ground pool? I mean, its not a fence, but the child would actually have to climb a ladder to get into the pool, and therefore, they couldnt accidentally fall in.”

    Not necessarily. Our above-ground pool is accessed only from our deck (there is no ladder directly from the ground), which is accessed from a door from our house (or from the deck stairs.) So in that situation, a child *could* easily go out the door, across the deck, and straight into the pool. But of course there is a lock on the door from our house, and the previous owners of the house had a padlock on the gate that led from the upper level of the deck down to the level where the pool is. We didn’t bother with it because our kids were all older when we moved in.

  35. pentamom March 27, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    sexhysteria, how would the absolute incompetence of leaving a small child alone in a pool be helped by having had a locked fence around the pool?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100% for fences around pools. Even if your own kids are water-safe, extremely obedient, old enough to understand, and/or non-existent, you have to think about the neighborhood kids. I just fail to see what a locked gate has to with leaving a small child alone already in the pool.

  36. Dhewco March 27, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    My town closed the community pools because lawsuits over accidents caused the city’s insurance to skyrocket. The town of 4k couldn’t afford it anymore. The main pool is a police department parking lot now.

    If people wouldn’t treat the civil law system like a payday, maybe we’d still have a pool.

  37. pentamom March 27, 2015 at 10:31 am #

    “Were missing an important part of this story why are there so many private, backyard pools, even in towns that have a large community swimming pool Answer: In the name of child safety, almost anything fun at the pools has been banned. ”

    No — answer, because I can walk out my back door on any nice or unpleasantly hot day, jump in the pool for a bit, go in, change, and go back to what I was doing. If you have a backyard pool, you can literally use it for a 20-minute pool break, including time to change, change back, etc.

    If you’re uncomfortable in public in your swimwear, it’s there. If you want to use a pool as a place to entertain friends and family, it’s there. If you want an entire pool to yourself/family, without either the crowding or the potential negative behavior of other people, it’s there. (FWIW not all of those are the reasons I have a pool, but they are among many possibilities.) If you really use your pool a lot, every day, and you have a relatively small, low-maintenance above-ground pool, it may well be cheaper over time than public pool fees, or at least little enough more to make the other benefits worth it. Especially if it was already there when you bought the house.

    There are a hundred reasons not related to thinking that “public pools are no fun” to have a backyard pool. I’m sure there is some number of people who have backyard pools for that reason, but I’ve never met one. It is most certainly not “the answer” to the question of why people have backyard pools.

  38. BL March 27, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    @Dhewco
    “If people wouldnt treat the civil law system like a payday, maybe wed still have a pool.”

    I think I’ve mentioned before the personal-injury lawyer here who has big billboards around the area stating “INJURED? SOMEBODY SHOULD PAY!”

  39. Dhewco March 27, 2015 at 11:52 am #

    Make no mistake, I’m not saying that real fault lawsuits shouldn’t happen. However, when you’re running around obviously wet areas and jumping off too shallow areas, it’s not the pool’s fault when you get hurt. Even when they’re signs, people will still make excuses and sue.

  40. Dhewco March 27, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    PS: That should read that even when there are signs AND plenty of lifeguards telling you to stop it, people will make excuses and sue (and win). This was back almost 22 years ago, too. It still sticks in my craw (sp?).

  41. Gina March 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Warren: You and I have had this argument before. In my mind, forgetting to lock a pool fence is like forgetting to secure a child in a carseat.
    Note, I said I don’t think this woman should be charged with a crime.
    I live in Scottsdale where the norm is to have a pool in the yard. We have had 5 drownings of young kids already this year; it’s only March. Every one of those pools had no fence….none of those kids would have drowned if they had.
    Yes, supervision when young kids are in the pool is the most important thing. There should be one (or more) designated person who is watching the kids and knows the count.
    When the pool is not in use, there needs to be a barrier.
    Yes, accidents can still happen when there are precautions taken, but, so far, this year in my city, that has not been the case. And Scottsdale/Phoenix is the number 1 city for child drownings.
    Warren: if you choose not to have a fence you are taking a risk with your young kids. If that risk is worth your yard “looking the way you want it”..then that’s your decision. But do NOT say that pool fences are not necessary. They are.

  42. SOA March 27, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    If they charge caretakers for stuff like this, they need to charge parents too. Its only fair. I don’t like when if it is your child you get patted on the head, but if a sitter has this happen everyone calls for their head. Its not a fair comparison at all. Either you are negligent or you aren’t. Whether or not its your child or your neighbor’s kid you were watching makes no difference. I actually am more watchful of other people’s kids just because I would never want the mess that would come if they got hurt on my watch. But technically I should not have to watch them more carefully than I watch my own kids. Negligence is negligence. Its either okay or its not okay. Does not matter how the kid was related or not to you.

  43. SOA March 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Dee- our members only community pool is still fun. They don’t have ridiculous rules. We go there every day in the summer. Kids can swim alone (that is why we pay for lifeguards), you can jump in anywhere on the side, you can run in the grass just not on the concrete which makes sense, you can bring in toys and food. I am glad ours is still fun.

  44. Warren March 27, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Gina,
    No they are not.

    Funny how both my parents and now us, have had backyard pools. Backyard is fenced at the property line, but the pool is not seperated from the rest of the backyard.

    Parents have been in their home for over 30 yrs. Not one incident.
    We have had ours almost 10 yrs. Not one incident.
    I personally know at least a dozen others that have had pools for decades. Not one incident.

    Maybe the kids in Ontario are just smarter or better behaved than those where you are, I don’t know. Kids drowning in backyard pools just isn’t as often up here as it is there.

    And because some kid in Arizona drowns, I am not spending thousands on a fence in Ontario. That is like saying because a kid in Calif. got snatched walking home from school, so I won’t let my kid walk home here in Ontario.

  45. pentamom March 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm #

    “Maybe the kids in Ontario are just smarter or better behaved than those where you are, I dont know. Kids drowning in backyard pools just isnt as often up here as it is there. ”

    Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that the rate of pool ownership is almost certainly tens of times greater in Arizona than in Ontario?

  46. Warren March 27, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

    I prefer to think our kids are smarter. Just kidding. I went there as a match for Gina’s extreme view of how people need to secure a pool.

    Gina, I really don’t give a rat’s ass what you may think. But not having a fence seperating the pool from the rest of the yard, is not putting anyone at risk. People not watching their kids around water, that is risky. Barriers such as fences between those in a pool and those not in the pool can be just as risky, since to get to someone in trouble you have to deal with the barrier.

    Gina, you can be paranoid about pool safety, all you want. I grew up around the water, worked in Aquatics, and am not going to be paranoid.

  47. Donna March 28, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    According to Arizona’s own pool death statistics, 350 children die in the US each year in pools. That is not a number all that much greater than the number of children abducted by strangers each year when compared to the number of children in the US. And while every child obviously doesn’t have a backyard pool, the vast majority spend time near some pool every summer. Even in our poor inner city, the kids from the ‘hood go to the community pools on the weekends.

    Pools are simply not killing large amounts of children. You can demand that they are all you want but it doesn’t make it any more true than saying kids are being abducted left and right. It may be the single highest cause of death in young children in Arizona (I believe that is ACCIDENTAL death as genetic conditons still kill more at young ages), but that doesn’t make it common or a scourge.

  48. Warren March 28, 2015 at 3:47 am #

    Donna,
    Gina reminds me of a story last year. Some lady was advocating for all backyard pools in Australia to be filled in, because they are killing kids.

    Gina will be one of the first to point out that millions of kids were not abducted by strangers, like we all do. But she cannot accept that there are millions of pools and millions of kids that did not drown.

  49. Rachel March 28, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I think there is an almost violent desire to punish “somebody” for a tragedy.

    Every time I hear of a child dying because the parent made some minor error (falling asleep, etc) I feel nothing but sympathy for the parent. But then I read posts from people insisting, “How could this guy not spend time in jail? Where is his punishment?” As if living with guilt for the rest of your life for the death of a child isn’t a punishment…

  50. Emily March 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    >>I grew up around the water, worked in Aquatics, and am not going to be paranoid.<<

    @Warren–I'd say that that's a better means of water safety than any fence.

  51. Anna March 28, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    Warren, I think you’re missing a key fact here. You seem to be assuming that the issue is children having a swim with their families, and thus you assume supervision and/or water safety training solves it. The problem is, often kids who die in pools are very young children who wander into the pool area when when no one is around. In fact, the families I’ve actually known who had kids die this way didn’t even have pools – the drowning happened in pools belonging to neighbors or even the neighbors of relatives the kids were visiting. So personally, I think strict laws about the kinds of fences and gates required are entirely appropriate.

  52. Warren March 28, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    Anna,

    Let’s get something straight. Our backyards are surrounded by 6 foot tall fences already. If a child is going to climb those fences to get into our backyard, another fence surrounding the pool and deck is not going to stop them from drowning. How hard is that to understand?

    And sorry bout your friends, but I am not subdividing my backyard, spending thousands of dollars because other people’s kids have not been taught, or cannot behave around a pool.

    Life with a backyard pool is very easy. Up to a certain age they have adult supervision constantly when out near the pool. The next stage is, once they know how to handle being around the pool, they have minimal supervision. After that, go for it, swim, laugh, play and have fun, with no need to be supervised. Kinda like letting them play unsupervised in the neighborhood. Funny how different activities have the same standards and expectations.

    Finally, if you truly believe that our backyard pool is a deathtrap, keep you kids off my property. It is really that simple.

  53. Warren March 28, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Anna,
    In very plain terms.
    Regulate your kids, don’t regulate my property.

  54. Donna March 28, 2015 at 6:34 pm #

    Anna – My stepbrother drowned in the neighbors pool when he was 2. He left the house while his uncle’s back was turned and slipped in a gate that was briefly left open while the neighbor ran out of the pool area for a quick second. He survived, but had developmental issues which lead to some bad life choices that ended his life very young.

    I have never once heard my father’s wife say a negative thing about her brother or the neighbor, nor has she ever demanded additional pool fence regulations or said one negative word about backyard pools (other than they are too much work). She understood that the whole thing was just a case of really bad luck that her son escaped his babysitter at the exact same moment that the neighbor ran to get something. In fact, my father and her bought a house with a pool when they moved to Florida 25 years ago. The yard is fenced but the pool is fully accessible from the house. They have had nieces and nephews in that pool constantly from the day they bought the house, including two who lived with them for over a year when they were toddlers. She has never had an unnatural fear of the pool. My daughter has never visited this house as my father died before she was born and I don’t choose to associate with his widow or her family, but if he had lived, we would have visited and I would have had no issue with the pool.

  55. Gina March 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    WARREN:
    Just a small clarification, then you can get back to berating me.
    I am NOT talking about MY kids getting into YOUR yard. I am talking about people who have young children in the home fencing their OWN pools. If you have no little ones, or you do and you’re not worried about them accidentally getting to the pool, then don’t fence it.
    Pool fences save lives. So do carseats, bike helmets, seatbelts and smoke detectors. And none of those go against the FR philosophy.

  56. SteveS March 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    I grew up on a lake and fencing wasn’t really an option. Drownings were incredibly rare. My dad and aunt grew up on the same lake. We were given a great deal of freedom, but there were rules. When we were little, you weren’t allowed on the beach without someone supervising. We also learned to swim.

  57. Warren March 29, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    Gina,
    Some carseats are not needed, and I am against them. Because every 5 or so years they make a new seat that keeps kids in child seats longer and longer. Not for safety, but because the companies have great lobbyists and deep pockets.

    Now prove to me how fences have saved lives. Show me a documentation as to how many lives pool fences have saved.

  58. Emily March 30, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    >>Gina,
    Some carseats are not needed, and I am against them. Because every 5 or so years they make a new seat that keeps kids in child seats longer and longer. Not for safety, but because the companies have great lobbyists and deep pockets.<<

    @Warren–I agree with you that children don't need to be in car seats up to 80 pounds, because, according to Livestrong.Com, the healthy weight range for ten-year-olds is 54 to 105 pounds, so, if a child is on the skinny side, that child might graduate from elementary school before being "big enough" to graduate out of the car seat. Speaking of school, there are kids that age who take the bus to school, and by then, they would have all taken their first field trip on a school bus, and school buses don't even have seat belts for the passengers. So, I'm trying to figure out the logic in that. How is it "unsafe" for kids on the verge of puberty to ride in cars without car seats, but perfectly fine for them to ride on school buses (or even city buses) that have no seat belts, and much poorer shock absorbers?

  59. Donna March 30, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    “@Warren–I agree with you that children don’t need to be in car seats up to 80 pounds, because, according to Livestrong.Com, the healthy weight range for ten-year-olds is 54 to 105 pounds, so, if a child is on the skinny side, that child might graduate from elementary school before being “big enough” to graduate out of the car seat”

    I have one of those. At 9.5, my daughter weighs in at a whopping 50.4 lbs (she is very proud of that .4 as it means she can go ziplining this spring). I really don’t see her gaining more than 30 lbs in the next 2.5 years. Luckily, we don’t have a weight limit in our state so she has been legally out of a car seat for awhile now.

  60. R.a. April 1, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    Wait…

    So the lady of this story got deported because of a wrong decision. Is she going to be invited back? Given any monetary conpensation? Does she even get to know what was ruled? Or is she still treated like a “criminal” by USCIS?

    Read all the comments and not a one gave a single flying block of horse poo for the woman deported. Not that she matters, I guess. She’s just a nanny, and her income determines her human worth so whatever. Lets all argue about backyard pools!

  61. Lawyer April 1, 2015 at 8:01 pm #

    Unfortunately, prosecutors are totally immune from the consequences of their discretion, even if a court later rules that they made a mistake.

    The defendant was contacted through the Uruguayan embassy and is currently seeking reentry through a pro bono immigration firm.