Almost 400 children below the age of 14 die annually in pool drownings. As such, a swimming pool poses a greater risk statistically than keeping a gun in the house. Having a pool comes with many responsibilities and legal implications in the fields of personal injury and wrongful death. If you’re a home owner, here are a few legal implications you might consider before deciding to get a pool.
Your drain covers should comply with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. The piece of federal legislation was named after Virginia Baker, who drowned due to suction entrapment by a faulty drain. Also regularly check your drain cover to make sure it’s in the proper condition with no cover missing, as articles of hair clothing and sometimes limbs can get caught in its suction.
Many drownings occur when a pool is in fact not in use. Young children sometimes enter the swimming area unsupervised and can fall in without anyone noticing as a result. You want to take steps to minimize risk to children when you’re not around your pool.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends installation of a fence (at least four feet in height) and gate with a lock or latch. Another further step is installing a securable pool cover as well. You can even install an alarm that detects movement in a pool area when you’re not around. Many alarms are available today that inform you when something has disturbed the surface of the water. All these safety measures help reduce risk as well as liability for a homeowner.
Your homeowner’s insurance premium may be higher with a pool. All the same it is wise to have an insurance policy that covers potential accidents or injuries that may occur. The recommended coverage is a policy that covers up to one million dollars. In the event of a claim filed against you, the extra you pay in insurance can quickly pay off. If you’re interested in getting a pool, home liability insurance is a safe bet.
Equipment & Training
Someone in a household with a pool should be certified to administer CPR in the off chance that someone were to drown. Proper CPR training can make the difference between life and death in several situations. Safety equipment such as lifesaving floatation devices such as life jackets for young swimmers can help drastically decrease chances of drowning. Scissors should also be kept close by in case hair or clothing can cause a swimmer to become trapped.
Dirty water can facilitate infection due to the transmission of germs and bacteria through pool water. Sanitize your pool regularly with chlorine, and check the pH of your water to make sure it’s at the correct level (between 7.2 – 7.6). Along with taking out any solid debris, you should also use available pool shock products at a minimum of once a week. Shocking the pool is simply just heavily chlorinating it on occasion to kill microbes and other germs.
About the Author
Matt Kyle is the head of the Kyle Law Firm in San Marcos, Texas. The Kyle Law Firm specializes in both criminal defense and personal injury, with membership in the million dollar advocates forum as well as the prestigious national college for DUI defense.