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It broke my heart to see that a 4 year old boy drowned in the pool at the Bachelor Heights apartment complex. I have a five year old son and simply cannot imagine, and don’t want to even pretend to image, the pain his family is suffering.

Pools are a lot of fun in the summer, but they are also very dangerous. There is a good reason why homeowners insurance premiums can go sky-high when people have pools. As we all know, kids are curious, and the younger they are, the less they are able to appeciate danger.

A 4-year-old boy drowned Sunday in an apartment swimming pool just south of Bloomington.

The drowning happened at the Batchelor Heights pool, on West Gordon Pike, about 4:30 p.m., Monroe County coroner Nicole Meyer said.

Most apartments and hotels that have pools do not provide lifeguards, and often post signs that warn people. Many times the owners of the property think that this warning somehow eleviates them of any liability in the future. This is not the case, especially in a situation like this where you have a child that is incapable of appreciating the danger.

Property owners, whether commercial, apartment owners, or homeowners, who choose to have pools also have a duty under Indiana law to take reasonable steps to secure their property (including the pool) to make the premises safe. What is "reasonable" depends on the circumstances in each case.

Basically, the law recognizes that each situation may be a little different. What is "reasonable" for a homeowner to do may be different than what is "reasonable" for an apartment complex. It’s not reasonable for a homeowner to have a lifeguard on duty, but it is reasonable to expect the homeowner to have a fence. Whether its reasonable to expect a commercial property to have a lifeguard or attendant also varies. For example, how often the pool is used, how many people have access to the pool, does the property charge admission to the pool, etc.

Much more needs to be known before anyone can assess blame in this situation, and the article in the paper references that the Sheriff’s Department will be reviewing security camera footage. What is clear is that this a terribly sad story.


  1. Gravatar for R. Gordon

    I agree with you that it is indeed a tragedy that this poor 4 year old drowned and my heart goes out to his family and all involved who were there to witness this terrible event and those who tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. I do, however, have to take you to task for the inaccuracies in your article and not knowing all the facts before you make comments on this event. First of all, Batchelor Heights is not just an apt. complex but also consists of townhouses and individual homes and residents belong to a homeowners association that also set rules and regulations for the pool. You described how apt. complexes and hotels feel that posting warning signs stating no lifeguard on duty eleviates them of any liability in the future and then proceeded to say "this is not the case, especially in a situation like this where you have a child that is incapable of appreciating the danger. Obviously the pool was left unattended and did not have a gate, or the gate was unlocked." A 4-year old is incapable of appreciating the danger, however, his mother and grandmother who accompanied him and unfortunately did not supervise him, should have appreciated the danger. The pool also was not left unattended as you stated. There were approximately fifteen people using it at the time. Signs are posted and, in fact, there is a fence with a gate that has an electronic key card lock and only residents of the HOA are given the electronic keys. This pool is for residents only and unfortunately this boy and his mother were not residents but friends of a resident who let them use the pool even though the resident was not in attendance. In the future, I would hope that, as a lawyer, you would know all the facts and circumstances before implying liability.

  2. Gravatar for Fred Schultz

    Mr. Gordon,

    Thank you for your comment! I reread the posting and, you are correct, I jumped the gun and made an assumption.

    This is a really unfortunate situation, and very few facts are available. Your comments have helped us all obtain information that wasn't previously available. I have deleted the line that you referenced as being inaccurate.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. That's the whole point of this Blog: to get information out so that we can all understand what happened, and hopefully prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

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