In Alaska, summer is both pool season and hot tub season. For homeowners, a residential swimming pool or hot tub, or both, is frequently the largest financial and legal risk associated with their property.
Pool owners should take precautions to keep their premises safe. For starters, install a fence around an in-ground pool with a gate that opens outward and is self-closing and self-latching. Above-ground pools should have fencing around the ladder or steps leading up to the pool. Many insurance companies require it. Some states and municipalities make it the law and spell out fencing specifications.
A fence will provide safety for uninvited minor children who may be enticed by the pool, lack the capacity to comprehend potential danger, and trespass on the property (“attractive nuisance” doctrine). Without proper fencing, homeowners could be held liable for a trespassing child’s injuries.
Alarm systems can be lifesavers. One kind sounds off when the gate is opened. Another acts as a motion sensor that triggers the alarm when the water surface has been disturbed.
Other safety precautions include:
- Supervise children. Always. Without distractions. (Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury‒related deaths for 1‒4-year-olds, per the CDC.)
- Inspect drain covers — should be rounded, no cracks, and no missing pieces.
- Remove trip hazards from the pool deck.
- Inspect diving boards and slides for damage and repair immediately — or remove them.
- Enforce “pool rules”: no running, pushing/shoving, dunking, or intoxicated pool users allowed.
- Have easily accessible rescue equipment and first aid supplies nearby, and learn CPR.
- Learn how to swim.
If you or a family member suffers a pool-related injury due to negligence, contact a personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
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