It takes a village to raise a child – and it takes a 6-foot fence with a locking gate to have an in-ground swimming pool in your backyard. That’s the building code in most communities and an insurance underwriting requirement.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, in-ground pools may not be as common as above-ground or inflatable pools, but don’t be fooled! Shallow soft-side or mobile pools may give us a sense of security because they don’t hold as much water. However, even if the seasonal pool is smaller or more shallow than a permenent structure, it doesn’t mean that it’s safer. A pool is a pool, and portable pools account for 11% of all pool drownings for children under the age of 5. Some of these drownings happen in only a few inches of water, and 40% of them happen with adult supervision present!
Whatever water-fun you are enjoying in your backyard this summer, please follow these safety tips to avoid a tragedy. Multi-layered protection is the key:
If there is water, there should be a watchful adult whose full attention is on the kids’ activities in the pool. Have a phone nearby to be able to call for help quickly if needed.
If you are not able to supervise, restrict access to the pool. Consider installing a pool fence with a locking gate, remove access ladders, and cover large inflatable pools with a pool cover. Drain smaller portable pools after every use.
Consider setting up pool alarms that alert you when a child approaches the pool.
4. Swimming Lessons
Swimming lessons are a huge factor in children’s pool safety — but don’t assume they are safe because they know how to swim and float. Constant supervision is crucial!
Know basic CPR so you can help immediately in an emergency.
Talk with your neighbors, guests and babysitters and alert them about the pool in your backyard. Teach your children to not play in a friend’s pool when there is no adult supervision. Talk with your neighbors about pool rules and take turns in watching the youngsters play.
Keep in mind that pools (like trampolines) are considered an “attractive nuisance”. If an accident happens on your property, even if a neighbor child splashes uninvited while you’re not even home, you can be held liable! Drowning is the second-largest cause of death for children under 14
This makes pools a significant financial risk!
Even if friends or family members sustain a pool-related injury on your property do not want to sue you, they may be forced to in order to pay medical bills or to make up for lost income.
Homeowner’s insurance helps provide the liability protection you need. Talk with your insurance agent about the liability limits on your homeowner’s policy, and consider purchasing Umbrella Insurance for additional peace of mind.
For more information on Swimming Pool Safety, please visit www.PoolSafely.gov