In the wake of the recent incident of the drowning of a five-year-old boy from Bengaluru, in a pool at a Varca-based hotel, the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) calls for a review and revision of safety standards at swimming pools, guesthouses and theme parks in Goa.
It should also be noted that since 2017, there have been six such deaths of children in swimming pools of hotels and guesthouses in Goa as listed below:
December 2017 – A minor boy of four years, in a guesthouse in Candolim.
April 2017 – A 17-year-old minor girl from Tumkur, in the swimming pool of the hotel near Colva Beach.
May 2017 - A four-year-old girl from Shahajanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in the swimming pool of a hotel in Calangute.
June 2018 – A 9-year-old boy from Delhi, in the swimming pool of a hotel in Calangute.
November 2022 – A six-year-old boy from Mumbai, in a swimming pool while allegedly playing at a hotel in Candolim.
April 2023 – A five-year-old boy from Bengaluru, in a pool at a Varca-based hotel.
The chairperson of GSCPC, Peter F Borges, says, “It is very tragic to lose so many children to a preventable cause of death. The deaths appear to be due to a failure of adequate provision of safety by the hotels, guesthouses, and theme parks, and/or a transition lapse in parenting by the visiting tourist.”
It is required of the Goa Tourism Department to promote responsible tourism and ensure the safety of tourists, including children. All these establishments have a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety and security of their guests, especially children.
The establishments must maintain all areas, including pools, in a reasonably safe condition and warn of possible dangers to children.
“Further, such establishments must be held liable for negligence if their pool areas fail to comply with safety laws and requirements, having appropriate safety equipment available and a lifeguard to watch over minors,” says Peter F Borges.
The Commission recommends that the Department of Tourism review and revise security measures, enforcing higher safety standards with the following actions with regard to the safety of children:
All establishments with swimming pools and theme parks with pools must have an adequate number of trained lifeguards available whenever they are operational. At other times, there should be no access to the water.
Children less than seven years of age should routinely be offered well-fitting lifeguard-approved flotation devices and jackets.