Swimming pools are wonderful to own, but danger is built in.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission states that each year, over 300 American children under age 5 drown in swimming pools and spas. 2,000 more have near-drowning incidents. Additionally, hundreds more over age 5 drown each year.
Medical care costs for near-drowning victims are very high. Dealing with brain damage issues can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then, if that person lives, there are brain damage issues and/or disability for the rest of their lives.
If you are found liable for the injuries or death, you’d better be sure your liability limits are as high as possible. A million-dollar jury verdict against you could ruin your financial life forever.
Don’t allow your home to be the location of a drowning. Take the following precautions to prevent a tragedy.
• Most building codes require a pool to be fenced in. Make sure yours has a fence around it that is at least four feet tall. If your house forms one side of the barrier for the pool, doors leading from the house to the pool should be protected with alarms that sound when the doors are unexpectedly opened.
• Make sure that all your gates are self-closing and self-latching. Latches should be high enough that small children cannot reach them.
• For above-ground pools, steps and ladders to the pool should be secured or removed when the pool is not in use.
• Consider installing a power safety cover, a motor-powered pool cover placed over the water area, to prevent access to the water.
• Have a professional regularly inspect your pool or spa for entrapment or
entanglement hazards. Plainly mark the location of the electrical
cut-off switch for the pool or spa pump.
• Instruct babysitters about potential pool hazards to young children and about the use of protective devices, such as door alarms and latches. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.
• Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. During social gatherings at or near a pool, appoint a “designated watcher” to protect young children from pool accidents. Adults may take turns being the “watcher.” When adults become preoccupied, children are at risk.
• NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER SWIM ALONE.
• Learn Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Keep rescue equipment and a phone near the pool.
• If a child is missing, look in the pool FIRST! Seconds count when saving a life. 75% of drowning victims are missing for five minutes or less.
• Knowing how to swim doesn’t drown-proof anyone. Accidents can happen, and a small amount of water in the lungs can cause death.
Be safe FIRST, and then you can really enjoy your pool!