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It’s summer time and that means it’s time to hit the water to cool off. But where there’s water, there’s a possibility for danger. You are legally obligated to secure your swimming pool. This is both to protect neighborhood children from harm and to prevent you from liability due to creating what is called an attractive nuisance.
There are numerous steps you can take to secure your pool to keep children and pets safe this summer. Some of these solutions can be costly, but what is the cost of securing your pool compared to the life of a friend or a family member? Of course, most people can’t afford to take all the precautions, but it is important to follow the law and make your pool safe in a way that fits your pool type, budget and lifestyle. Remember, the key here is to create a safe environment and to understand that, even if you aren’t home and uninvited children come into your yard, you could still be held liable for any harm they suffer due to an improperly secured pool.
Some towns require that a fence be installed around pool. Check with your town to see if it’s a requirement. The Consumer Product and Safety Commission recommends a safety fence that is 48” or higher, self-closing, and self-latching. Always keep the gate shut; don’t prop the gate open. Having a safety fence around your pool may be the best defense against danger.
When not in use, your pool should have a safety cover on it. Some safety covers look like a green trampoline that fits over your pool. These covers are sturdy enough for people to walk on them. There’s also a version that looks like a large net; the holes are small enough for critters to get in, but not humans. Either of these safety covers are safer than the generic blue tarp that just lays over the pool’s surface. Blue tarps are not meant to be walked upon and can actually trap a person or animal under water if it collapses underneath them.
A pool alarm is an invisible fence that surrounds the perimeter of your pool. The alarm sounds when a child or small animal penetrates the invisible field. This would alert you of an intruder and could give you time to stop them from entering the pool.
In the event of an emergency, it’s crucial to have life-saving devices at hand. Purchase lifesavers with rope or a shepherd’s hook and keep them poolside. Also, be sure you know how to use them should an emergency arise.
Even experienced swimmers can get their hair or clothing caught in the pool’s main drain. Install a drain cover to keep swimmers from getting sucked into its rough current.
Even though you may have a “no running” policy, having a non-slip surface around the edge is a good idea. It could be helpful for wet children and adults getting in out of the pool from the sides or while people are walking around the edge. This could help you avoid a slip and fall lawsuit if someone is injured by your poolside.
Having life jackets for children less than 3 years of age is great idea. You have no way of knowing a visiting child’s swimming skill level. Even if they are great swimmers, the child might tire easily. Make sure that the life jackets’ fit are adjustable so that they will fit each child properly.
Keeping toys and pool equipment clear from the pool’s edge is a simple way to keep from tripping or slipping. Use storage bins for toys and hooks on the fence for the pool equipment when not in use.
Just like you keep your household cleaners and other harsh chemicals out of reach of children and animals, pool chemicals should be locked up too. You should store pool chemicals in a cool, dry place away from other household chemicals.
Putting in a deck around an above ground pool gives tired swimmers a place to rest without having to climb down a ladder to the ground.
Make certain that people can easily enter and exit your pool. Make sure that your pool has the appropriate steps or ladders to assist them.
Just because adults are outside while children are swimming does not guarantee their safety. The more eyes that are actively watching the children swimming, the better. It only takes seconds for an accident to happen. Just like you keep your eyes on the road, keep your eyes on the pool.
You have a responsibility to keep your guests safe and you do so by putting safety rules in place. If your guests can’t abide by those rules, then they forfeit their privilege to swim in your pool.
It’s never a bad idea to get trained in CPR and first aid. Knowing how to save someone’s life or care for their injury can be very helpful in an emergency. If an accident happens, you’ll know what to do until medical care arrives. This kind of knowledge can be the difference between life and death while waiting for the paramedics.
Remember to call 911 immediately if an accident occurs, someone is injured, or not responsive.
If you or a loved one was severely injured in an improperly secured pool, contact the attorneys at owenthal & Abrams, Injury Attorneys. With more than 40 years of experience in injury and wrongful death cases, we have the knowledge and skill needed to handle sensitive cases like these. Contact our office for a free consultation right now.
LOWENTHAL AND ABRAMS, P.C.
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