Investigators are trying to determine how a 4-year-old boy with autism managed to get into his apartment complex swimming pool on his own and drown. Alexie Lepoer was found in the water on Mother’s Day.
At the time of the Westborough drowning death, which occurred at the Park Village West complex, the pool had not yet been opened for the swimming season and the water was murky. It had been uncovered about a week before the accident so that it could be cleaned and treated.
Although the pool is surrounded by a chain-link fence that was constructed in the 1970’s, authorities believe that Alexie may have gotten into the water by crawling under a section of the fence that had come loose-just big enough for someone his size to be able to crawl through. Town investigators are now looking at other pools in the area with similar fencing.
Pool owners are supposed to make sure that their swimming pools and hot tubs are not accessible to kids during off hours or when the pool is closed for the season because usually that is when no one is around to supervise, which can increase the chances of a Massachusetts pool drowning.
Steps a pool owner can take to secure a pool:
• Use a pool cover that can be locked or is rigid and motorized and cannot be rolled open otherwise.
• Make sure the fence is high enough and made of materials that cannot be easily scaled and that its slats are narrow enough that a child cannot squeeze through them • Install locks on pool gates • Install alarms on pool doors • Remove aboveground pool ladders and steps when the pool isn’t in use • If the pool is inflatable, empty it of any water when not in use • Make sure pool drains meet federal safety standards.
• Keep the water clean and free of debris so it is easier to spot anyone who might have gone under.
Westborough drowning victim was severely autistic, Boston.com, May 15, 2012
Boy’s death prompts inspection of Westboro pool fencing, NECN, May 14, 2012
More Blog Posts:
Massachusetts Swimming Pool Death: State Report Released on Woman’s Fatal Fall River Drowning, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 20, 2012
Boy Dies Following Shrewsbury Drowning Accident at Summer Camp, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 29, 2011
Truro Man’s Family to Sue Provincetown for Man’s 2008 Massachusetts Drowning Death, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 14, 2010