Monthly Archives

September 2016

Legal Obligations of Property Owners with Swimming Pools

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Following any incidences that have occurred in a swimming pool, the property owner is always held accountable for any injuries, damages, or death. Most people fail to grasp the amount of responsibility that comes with owning a pool until they have to face the legal ramifications as a result of negligence. As a pool owner, you should be familiar with your legal obligations to keep the people swimming in your pool safe. Therefore, before you make the decision to own a backyard pool, here are some of the legal obligations pool owners have to shoulder.

1. Supervision

Supervision goes beyond monitoring children and teenagers in the swimming pool. Supervising adults is just as important. Anyone can drown in a swimming pool regardless of age or swimming ability. The suction power of the pool drain is strong enough to hold any full grown adult long enough to result in fatal consequences. Keeping an eye on the pool when it is in use can help to prevent a lot of nasty incidences.

2. Your Pool should be well equipped

Nothing will flip the odds on you faster than evidence of negligence and sub-standard pool equipment. Regardless of the size or purpose of your swimming pool, never skimp on pool equipment. You should possess all the necessary flotation devices and keep them handy by the poolside where they can be used to save a life.

3. Create a Barrier or Hire a Constant Supervisor

If your swimming pool does not have any barriers or fences to keep people away when you are not around, ensure that it is constantly under watch by a skilled adult. An open pool spells potential danger to any wandering children when there are no adults to supervise.

4. Hygiene

Your swimming pool should be regularly cleaned and chlorinated to avoid causing ailments such as asthma and skin conditions to the swimmers. Ideally, you should have it cleaned after every swimming session since the germs from our bodies constitute the worst kind of swimming pool contaminant. Avoid unnecessary litigations by installing a shower near the pool to facilitate showering before and after swimming.

5. Get an Insurance Policy

No matter how many safety precautions you take, it is always prudent to get insurance just to be on the safe side. Accidents always happen and it will benefit you greatly to be well prepared to cope with the situation in case anyone gets hurt or drowns in your swimming pool. Swimming pool experts recommend getting at least $1,000,000 worth of insurance.

A few other things you are legally responsible for as a pool owner is the people you allow inside your pool or premises. Do not let inebriated individuals into the swimming pool because in case they injure themselves or drown, you will be held fully accountable for allowing them to endanger their lives within your premises. Remove all the toys from the pool after swimming to prevent children from being tempted to go into the water when no one is around. A mere “keep out” sign will not do you much good in a lawsuit. Ensure that you are well familiarized with all the legal obligations of a swimming pool owner.

Pool Fencing and Young Children

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One of the most crucial pool safety requirements is the installation of adequate fencing around the pool. This is especially important if your household has any children of 5 years or less as they are the most prone to drowning when swimming unsupervised.

Although many people are well aware of the fact that their backyard pool should be fenced, only a few know the correct pool fencing requirements. This defeats the whole purpose of making the pool a safer place even for young children.

Pool Fencing Requirements

As any swimming pool expert will tell you, a fence or barrier can take many different forms but it has to adhere to a certain set of standards in order to be effective. Although the requirements may vary slightly depending on the location of the pool and the year it was built, they still contribute to ensuring that a pool fence is effective as a child-resistance barrier.

The following requirements are put in place solely for the purpose of preventing little children from being able to squeeze their way through any gaps or openings or being able to climb over the barrier.

1. All pool barriers should measure at least 1.2 meters high from the ground level. Going higher is entirely optional; going lower is not.

2. There should be no gaps bigger than 10cm both between the bottom of the fence and the ground and in between any vertical bars or planks in the barrier itself.

3. The fence should not be climbable. If you cannot avoid placing horizontal bars on the fence, you should space them not less than 90cm apart.

The surroundings of the pool also impact on how effective the barrier is especially when you consider the dexterity of young children who will climb anything to get what they want. As such:

1. The adjacent pool environment should be relatively non-climbable. This will require the removal of any overhanging trees or bushes. You should also ensure that objects such as ladders, tables, chairs, barbeque grills and any other climbable paraphernalia are at least 90cm away from the barrier.

2. Install child resistant gates, doors and windows if your pool fence or barrier requires one. To qualify as child resistant, the openings have to meet the following standards:

· Self-closing (i.e. swings shut on its own).

· Self-latching/locking.

· Also has a non-climbable surface and 90cm zone.

· The latches should be at least 150cm from the ground.

· It must open outwards from the pool.

· Should not have pet doors.

Windows must have locking devices that restrict the opening of the window to 10cm or less. They should also have a security screen.

Types of Pool Fences

There are numerous fencing options out there that will allow you to set up a barrier that matches the design of your house. There are three types of pool fences that are commonly used. These are:

· Aluminum Fences – these are widely preferred because of their elegant and ornamental appeal. They are also more durable than the rest as the aluminum is often powder-coated to enhance its resistance to corrosive agents and scratches. These are also a lot cheaper than iron fences and also significantly lighter.

· PVC – PVC fences are also a common poolside fence and this is mainly attributed to their cheapness and overall effectiveness. PVC barriers mainly consist of slats which are joined together to form a solid and very useful barrier.

· Wooden Fences – Although pricey, wood is great for poolside fencing. However, most people opt for the other options due to the relatively high maintenance requirements wood fences come with.

The simple act of creating an effective child-proof barrier around your pool can mean the difference when it comes to preventing accidental tragedies. Always ensure that your fence meets all the necessary requirements.

 

 

Remembering the Dangers of Swimming Pools in Fall and Winter

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Summer is coming to an end and now more than ever, you need to keep yourself and your
loved ones safe from the dangers of swimming pools. As the cooler weather sets
in, swimming pools become less used although just as dangerous when the proper
safety measures are not observed. It is imperative that you keep observing pool
safety practices in addition to employing some new practices to ensure that
everyone stays safe even when the pool is not in use.

Common Risks 

Fall is now in full swing and people are beginning to shy away from swimming as the
weather gets cooler and cooler. As much as public swimming pools are risky,
they do not compare to the dangerous nature of private backyard pools especially
during the fall and the winter. Most people fail to observe the necessary
preventative measures to ensure that no accidents occur during these two
seasons. 

Unfortunately,children are the most common victims of fatal backyard pool accidents. Negligence
plays a huge part in the occurrence of these tragic incidences. To put things
in perspective, a total of 137 children below 15 years old drowned this summer
alone according to the CPSC. 

The ominous risk of drowning doubles every time children are left unsupervised in
swimming pools or if the swimming pool area is not safe for kids. Other than
drowning, the slippery poolside area and contaminated pool water remain two
prevalent causes of swimming pool injuries and ailments. 

Preventative Measures

1. Pool Covers

The topic of pool covers is still a controversial one owing to the fact that they
have contributed to a large number of drowning incidences. Although primarily
used to cover the pool in order to prevent contamination from debris (such as
falling leaves during autumn), some can actually minimize the risk of drowning.

There are three types of pool covers:

  • Solar pool covers
  • Winter pool covers
  • Safety pool covers

People often make the mistake of thinking that all types of pool covers can serve both
purposes when in fact the safety pool covers are the best suited for preventing
drowning during the fall. Ideally, a winter pool cover is recommended for the
chilly winter period.

2. Fences

Fencing the area around the pool is a great way to prevent accidents involving children
under the age of 5 years old. As advised by PoolSafely.gov,
the fence should be fairly automated with self-latching gates and alarms
that go off when the gates are opened without an adult’s knowledge. 

3. Pool Drains

A number of tragic pool accidents occur as a result of uncovered pool drains.
Investing in a quality anti-entrapment covers is a wise move that will protect
the swimmers from the strong suction power of the drain. 

4. Swimming Lessons

It goes without saying that good swimming skills are a necessary preventative
measure against drowning. Ensure that every member of your family gets the
necessary training from a certified swimming instructor.

5. First Aid Skills

CPR is easy to learn and a crucial skill in times of tragedy. Teaching even the youngest
members of your family the basic first aid techniques is an important step
towards minimizing the risk of tragedy occurring in your backyard swimming
pool.

Remember, adult supervision should always be present whenever there are people in the swimming
pool. Keep those first aid skills sharpened and those emergency contacts ready
at all times.