Big Bear Lake, CA, May 14, 2012, noon - No one wants to see anyone injured in their swimming pool, and with warmer weather, now is the time for pool owners to take active steps to reduce the possibility of drowning or injuries to children in their pools. If you own a pool, you know how popular they are with kids. Legally speaking, swimming pools are considered an “attractive nuisance,” which means that the law recognizes that kids love pools and often use them uninvited. If you own a pool, you could be held liable for negligence if a guest is injured in your pool, or for injuries to children you didn’t even know were there. To prevent tragedy and liability claims, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission offers these pool safety tips.
1. Install a fence between the water and the living area of your home.
It’s not enough to put a fence around your back yard — you need to keep unsupervised kids from entering the pool from inside your home. Climb-resistant fences are available that are and have self-closing, self-latching gates with the latch out of a child’s reach.
2. Keep kids and pets from falling into the swimming pool:
- When it’s not in use, keep your pool covered with a pool safety net or a permanent pool cover. Choose your pool cover carefully — kids are often tempted to walk on them and can be trapped beneath if the cover should collapse.
- Install an audible splash alarm as a backup, but not primary, safety feature.
- Don’t leave toys in a swimming pool. Kids often fall into pools when trying to reach for toys.
- Remove the ladder to an above-ground pool during winter.
3. Make sure you have good safety equipment close at hand.
At the very least, you need a rescue-grade floatation device and a fully stocked first aid kit. Post the address of the pool near the pool for reference if someone needs to call 911. If you don’t have an outdoor phone, always bring your cell phone with you to the pool.
4. Bring your pool drains up to date on safety.
Kids can be trapped by drain suction, so be sure to install anti-entrapment drain covers. Even safer are safety vacuum release systems, which shut off the pump if blockage is detected.
5. Remember that swallowing pool water can make you and your kids sick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, gastrointestinal illness from swallowing pool water has been rising dramatically in recent years. Some types of parasites can live in chlorinated water for days.
6. Keep a sharp eye out, and learn CPR.
77 percent of submersion injuries to children occur in five minutes or less. Unfortunately, drowning also takes mere minutes and can be completely silent. Even if your kids know how to swim or are using floatation devices, don’t just assume they’re safe — a swimming pool is not a good place for unsupervised kids.