Inattention or inadequate safety devices can quickly turn a fun day at the pool into a fatal accident, especially for children. Owning a pool comes with the responsibility of taking precautions.
Backyard swimming pool drowning is a major cause of fatal personal injury accidents, especially for children. Drowning causes more death for children one to four years old than any other cause except birth defects. Seventy-five percent of drowning fatalities of children under 15 took place at private residential swimming pools. Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional death among children under 15, according to the U.S. Centers for disease Control and Prevention.
Ten people drown daily. Each year, 3,400 people drown.
Most importantly, adults should always supervise children. Adults should engage in arm-length touch supervision for infants and toddles even if they can swim.
Teach children how to swim. Although this is not a substitute for adult supervision, it is another measure to prevent drowning.
Children must be kept away from drains. Strong suction can entrap hair and body parts.
Keep toys out of the pool when they are not being used. Curious children may fall into the pool while trying to get a toy.
All adults should receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The American Red Cross, fire departments and hospitals offer these certification courses.
Enclose a pool with a fence which separates the pool from the house and yard. Self-closing and self-latching gates should be installed. Place alarms on house doors that lead to the pool. California law, in fact, imposes requirements on equipping pools with fencing, gates, and exiting alarms.
Pool and hot tub access needs to be blocked. Make sure covers on pools and hot tubs are secure when they are not being used.
Pools should be equipped with these items:
- Life ring.
- Rescue tube.
- First aid kit.
- Adjacent phone.
Store rescue equipment near the pool in a clearly marked and accessible area. Periodically inspect equipment to assure it is in good condition.
Informing guests and posting and enforcing pool rules can help prevent accidents. These rules include:
- No running on pool deck.
- No diving in shallow water.
- Do not push anyone in the pool.
- No swimming without an adult present.
- Do not dunk or hold anyone under water.
Pool owners who do not follow California law or take reasonable precautions may be liable for accidents suffered by their guests. Attorneys can help accident victims, or their families seek compensation.