What's the Scariest Thing Hiding in Your Neighborhood?


pool safety
Flickr photo by titlap
If you asked me a few months ago what was the scariest thing hiding in our neighborhood, I would have said the coyotes.

Or the men who don't put sunscreen on a certain part of their upper body and have an affinity for gun play (hint, it rhymes with schmedschmeck).

Or maybe the teenagers who drive too fast down to make out in the cul-de-sac on my road.

Not anymore.

My neighbors put in a pool.

And there's a little statistic that keeps coming back to haunt me:

A pool in your neighborhood is more dangerous than a gun.

At least according to Steven D. Levitt, Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, and one of the guys behind Freakonomics.

Levitt's review of the statistics gets trotted out summer after summer: According to the number of kids who drown in pools vs. the number who are fatally shot, a pool is 100 times more dangerous for children.

By his assessment, one child is shot for every 1 million guns out there. By comparison, one child drowns for every 11,000 pools in America. The professor has weathered criticism for his assessment, among them claims over the years that he played with the numbers to suit his own anti-gun sensibilities.

But the fear of the pool in the neighborhood remains.

Even in a state where fences are required around pools. Even with my daughter set to enroll in a second summer of swimming lessons.

I'm fortunate not to personally know one person who has lost a child to a gun. I have known three families who lost a child in a pool accident.

Among them was the drowning of an elementary schooler when I was in middle school. The child was in fourth or fifth grade; old enough to know better and old enough to bypass a fence.

I can't do much about my neighbors' pool -- it's their property; their right. But I'm now in the process of having my own fence put in as an extra added measure of parental sanity protection.

It's just another reminder that as parents, you can add every safety measure out there. But you can't control the rest of the neighborhood.

Do the pools in your neighborhood make you nervous?

safety, summer safety


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sstepph sstepph

Yes, pools make me super nervous. Luckily we live in a townhouse and there aren't any around.. unless you go for a super long walk down the mountain.

We only have bears & snakes.. lol.

LoriA... LoriAnn87

Yes pool do make me nervous because if you not watching your kids something bad can happen but in my neighbor we don't have a pool expect for the one in our backyard but it's a small kiddie pool.

mistr... mistressScorpio

I have a pool, but it is above ground, has a ladder with a padlock, my yard is fenced in with locking gates, and the pool is situated on a rise so standing outside of it comes to my armpits (I'm 6'2"). I used to allow neighbor kids over to use the pool, but when I got sassed ONCE by a young girl, I kicked them all out, never to be allowed to set foot in my yard again. Even so, no one is allowed in the pool without us there.

LuvMy... LuvMyKids2010

Speaking as a mom that has both a pool and many guns in the house, I feel that I am qualified to respond to your article. Guns don't kill people and neither do pools. What is the cause for all these senseless deaths then? Irresponsible people! What it really comes down to is a parent's ability to be a parent. From the moment I first found out I was pregnant, I knew my life was never going to be the same. I can no longer lounge by the pool or even spend uninterrupted time on the phone with my friends. My life belongs to my child. My son has become pretty independent at the age of 2 1/2 but I always have my eye on him. The guns are locked in a safe and the pool gate is closed and locked but a simple lock is not enough. There is no substitute for good supervision. My advice to all that fear a neighborhood pool: teach your children rules how to be safe around dangers and watch your kids (keep them out of your neighbor's yards)!

justa... justanotherjen

Nope.  We have one in our backyard.  A 4' above ground pool.  My kids are in it all the time in the summer.  We've had a pool in my yard since I was 5 (our first one was 3' deep and then we got this pool when I was 10).  That's 28 years of a pool of some kind in our yard (the one we have now is 23 years old).

Our next door neighbors also have a pool as do many other people in our neighborhood.  I don't even think about it.  My kids are always in the yard playing.  The only time I remember to put the ladder up is if other neighbor kids are back there otherwise it is down.  My kids know the rules of being around the pool.  If they break the rules they lose the privilege of swimming and who wants that when it's 98F and there's nothing else to do.

nonmember avatar Dominick

It just boils down to watching out for your own kids when you perceive a danger. You should talk to your neighbors about your concerns.

maine... mainemusicmaker

Yes, they make me nervous but that's only because of my own fears about drowning.  And I can swim. 

This is just another reason to teach kids water safety, get them enrolled in swimming classes early, and instruct them about the rules regarding pools in the area.  Parenting plays a huge role....our kids should never be out of our sight when there are "perceived" dangers lurking.

Padlocks, gates, and watchful parenting will go a long way.

Carey... Carey2006

We don't have any pools in our neighborhood..there's a manmade lake and swamp close by and those scare the bejeezus out of me cuz alligators & snakes live there!!!

nonmember avatar lives in town

Teens drive to fast down your the road in front of your house! Have you watched how you drive! That is like the Pot Calling the Kettle Black! Pools don't scare me and Responsible Gun Owners do not scare me. It is Irresponsible Parents and Irresponsible Gun Owners that scare me. If I was a parent I would keep an eye on my children, teach them to be safe around any type of danger, and teach them to ask the neighbor's if they can come over to play, and teach my children to be a responsible person!

nonmember avatar Jack

So your honestly telling me that you would rather give you little daughter a fully loaded gun instead of let her be around a pool?! Your crazy. I don't think that pools are dangerous at all if children are supervised. Unless your the type of mother who lets her child roam around the neighbor hood, then you shouldn't have a problem. And your neighbors probably have children and do you think they would put a pool in their back yard if they thought it would be a danger to their children? I think not.

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