Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Swimming Pool Safety Guidelines

Pool Safety Tips for Homeowners

Summertime is a perfect excuse to hit the swimming pools for some fun in the sun. However, safety comes first. Many homeowners who have swimming pools and hot tubs are unaware of the duties and responsibilities that come with these amenities. Having a pool is one thing, but knowing how to maintain it for safe swimming is critical.

Sadly, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths besides birth defects in children ages 1 to 4 years old, according to the CDC. Pool chemical injuries typically lead to about 4,500 emergency room visits in the US every year, while over a third of these preventable injuries are in children or teens. The CDC also estimates that about 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings occur in the US each year ― this equates to an average of 11 drowning deaths each day. Further, 8,080 nonfatal drownings in the US are estimated to occur.

These alarming statistics illustrate the common risks of swimming, whether it be in a pool, lake, or the ocean. Children are at a higher risk of drowning-related injuries or deaths, although, it could happen to anyone, regardless of their age or experience. That said, the CDC explains certain factors that increase the likelihood of drowning, which include:

  • Inability to swim
  • Missing or ineffective fences around water
  • Lack of supervision (i.e., lifeguards, parents, etc.)
  • Location (i.e., swimming pools, rivers, lakes, or oceans)
  • Lack of life jackets
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drug and prescription medication use

With these factors in mind, you and your loved ones can better avoid suffering a pool-related injury or, worse, death. These incidents are preventable, however, when a homeowner fails to keep their premises safe for their families and visitors, circumstances may call for a lawsuit.

Swimming Pool Negligence & Premises Liability

Many homeowners ask, “Am I liable if someone gets hurt in my pool?” The answer is almost always “yes.” Homeowners owe a duty of care to anyone they invite onto their property, meaning, homeowners must ensure their property is safe for such visitors. However, a homeowner’s liability for pool-related injuries or death relies heavily upon four key elements. The four things that a plaintiff must prove to obtain compensation for damages in a premises liability claim are:

  1. The plaintiff had injuries/damages/losses
  2. The defendant actually knew about a danger on the property (or, as a person using reasonable care, should have known about it)
  3. The defendant failed to use reasonable care to protect against the danger on the property
  4. The defendant’s failure was a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries/damages/losses

If a judge or jury finds that any one or more of these elements has not been proved, then they will rule in favor of the homeowner (the defendant). This is because the plaintiff has the burden of proving each element by a preponderance of evidence. Preponderance of evidence is the burden of proof in personal injury cases, and it essentially means that the plaintiff must show that the defendant “more likely than not” caused their injuries. This is a much lower burden of proof than that of carinal cases, where prosecutors must prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

That said, a person who gets injured in another person’s swimming pool must show that the homeowner’s negligence caused their injuries more likely than not. Put otherwise, the plaintiff must show that there is more than a 50% chance that their claim is true in order to get compensation in a premises liability suit.

Safety Tips for Swimming

With the above information in mind, you can see that the dangers of swimming pools can be life-threatening or deadly. Although homeowners could be held legally responsible for any injuries that are caused in or around their swimming pools and spas, the bottom line is it is important to prevent these injuries altogether. Above, we listed factors that could increase the likelihood of drowning, and if you take a look at these factors again, you can see that most of them pertain to swimmers themselves, rather than the homeowners.

As such, parents, caregivers, and supervisors should keep the following pool safety tips in mind, as provided by PoolSafely.gov:

Stay Close, Be Alert, and Watch

  • Always watch children and never leave them unattended
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings
  • Have a charged phone close by at all times
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends, and neighbors
  • Even if a lifeguard is present, parents and caregivers should still take the responsibility of being a designated Water Watcher

Learn and Practice Water Safety Skills

  • Learn to swim and make sure kids do, too
  • Know how to perform CPR on children and adults
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency

Have the Appropriate Pool Equipment

  • Install a fence of at least four feet in height around the perimeter of the pool or spa
  • Use self-closing and self-latching gates
  • Ensure all pools and spas have compliant drain covers
  • Install an alarm on the door leading from the house to the pool
  • Keep pool and spa covers in working order
  • Have life-saving equipment such as life rings or reaching poles available for use

Avoid Drain Entrapments

  • Hair can get caught in a faulty drain cover
  • Arms, legs, and fingers can become lodged in a suction opening
  • Any body part that can cover a drain can be held down by suction
  • Sitting on a faulty drain can cause injuries or disembowelment
  • Jewelry or bathing suits can become entangled in a faulty drain cover

Other Pool Safety Tips

  • Make sure children do not play or swim near drains or suction outlets, especially in spas and shallow pools
  • Ensure children never enter a pool or spa that has a loose, broken, or missing drain cover
  • If you see a broken or loose drain cover, immediately notify a lifeguard and the pool/spa manager

Were You or a Loved One Injured in a Swimming Pool?

As you can see, anyone is vulnerable to a swimming pool-related injury, no matter how experienced they are. Defective pool equipment, homeowner negligence, and other factors that are out of your control could ultimately cause you pain and suffering. Thus, if you believe you have a claim, our attorneys can help. We can fight for maximum compensation to help you recover from your injuries and move forward!

To learn more, get in touch with us online or at (866) 580-3089!