Pool + Warm Weather = Attractive Nuisance
What do you get when you mix a swimming pool and warm weather? An attractive nuisance that can increase your liability in a personal injury claim, that’s what.
If you’re a homeowner with a private swimming pool, you likely already know the risks of becoming the target of a personal injury claim. You’re also probably paying a higher homeowners insurance premium to accommodate the swimming pool and any potential personal injuries or damage to your property it may cause.
Extra insurance coverage helps, but it’s not the only safeguard you can take against personal injury claims. There are other steps to ensure your pool doesn’t become a magnet for personal injury claims.
Check your equipment
Defective pool equipment can cause serious injuries and even death. Broken or missing ladders, damaged diving boards, and faulty pool filtration systems can increase your chances of being sued. Sometimes swimming pool manufacturers are at fault. If you discover a part isn’t working as intended, check for a product recall. If there isn’t one, alert the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
One of the biggest risks for malfunctioning swimming pool equipment involves anti-entrapment drain covers. These devices protect adults and children from being sucked into the pool’s water circulation system, which can cause serious internal injuries and drowning.
Federal law requires anti-entrapment devices for all swimming pools. If your pool is missing this mechanism or you suspect it’s not working properly, it’s important to get the necessary repairs before allowing anyone in your swimming pool.
Most swimming pool accidents involve children and unsupervised pools. That’s why it’s important to have a responsible adult overseeing any activity in your swimming pool. The supervisor must be a strong swimmer and willing to pay attention to signs of drowning. It takes less than 5 minutes for a child to drown in an unsupervised swimming pool.
Even with direct supervision, your guests can still get into trouble while swimming. Here are some things you can watch for to ensure their safety:
- Coughing. If a swimmer is coughing, it’s a sign they may be drowning. They could have swallowed a significant amount of water and are trying to clear their lungs.
- Head low in the water. If you notice an adult or child with their head low in the water and their mouth at water level, it can be a sign they’re about to go under the water.
- Ladder-climbing. If you notice a swimmer acting like they’re trying to climb an invisible ladder, that can be a surefire sign they’ve become disoriented and may drown.
Ideally, you should have at least one adult supervisor for every two children under the age of 5 using a swimming pool.
Secure your pool
New Mexico doesn’t require security fences around outdoor swimming pools. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put one up, anyway. Making it more difficult for curious children and others to gain access to your pool without your knowledge provides added protection against premises liability claims. The fence should be tall enough to prevent easily scaling it with a self-latching gate.
Other ways you can secure your outdoor pool include:
- Improve visibility with smart lights strategically placed around the pool area.
- Install gate sensors so you receive an alert if someone has entered the pool area.
- Position video surveillance cameras around the area so you can monitor your pool when you’re not in the area.
- Use a sturdy pool cover and keep the pool covered when not in use.
Alcohol and pools don’t mix. Unfortunately, it’s a lesson many homeowners learn the hard way. If you’re having a summer party and plan to allow guests to swim, you may want to forgo alcoholic beverages. Drinking poolside increases the risks of accidental injuries and drowning deaths.
Not only does alcohol affect your motor skills, but it also can cause you to:
- Black out while in the water.
- Misjudge the depth of water.
- Slip and fall poolside.
If you’re in charge of supervising the pool, alcohol should never be part of the equation. You must remain sober and watchful to ensure everyone’s safety.
Fair compensation for swimming pool injuries
Swimming pool accidents can happen, even when pool owners have taken the proper precautions to prevent them. When they do, it can lead to complicated premises liability cases that require the expertise of a personal injury attorney familiar with these kinds of claims. Reach out to the personal injury experts at Scott Atkinson Law to explore your options.