Like millions of Americans, you’ve decided to install a pool of your own, and you’re already daydreaming about your first poolside barbeque. But whether you’ve already begun to install your pool or you’re just starting out, it’s important to take a moment to research the safety regulations and requirements in your state, especially those that concern premises liability for residential owners. Without taking the right steps, you could be liable for damages if a guest is injured using your new pool. Protect yourself and your family by learning about your responsibilities, and how you can prevent serious swim disasters.
Creating Layers of Protection for Pool Environments
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 4,100 people are admitted for drowning injuries every year. Drowning fatalities are also the most common cause of unintentional death among very young children. Because of that, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) recommends implementing “layers of protection” around your residential pool as a key strategy for keeping your premises safe for guests and keeping out unwanted visitors. While this can take many forms, the NDPA most strongly recommends that you implement physical layers like fences and covers, and that you restrict access to the water as much as possible. Here are some safety tips that you should keep in mind during the construction of your new pool:
- Install an appropriate perimeter fence with gates. In Ohio, it’s legally required to install a fence around your pool property. Failure to build a fence to the right specifications for your district or township could result in fines or lawsuits.
- Get drain covers. It’s all too common for children to get their hair or limbs stuck in the pool drain if it is running, resulting in painful injuries. Purchasing a high-quality drain cover will add an extra layer of protection for your guests.
- Make sure pool gates are in good working order. Pay careful attention to gates during the construction process. It’s worth the investment to use a self-latching and self-closing gate, as children will be unable to enter unaccompanied.
- Use a proper pool cover. Aside from preventing evaporation and keeping your pool clean from debris, a pool cover will mitigate the attractiveness of an open pool to a young child.
- Keep your new pool clean. Bacteria and germs spread all too easily through pool water, and unwanted pests like snakes and rodents can contaminate the water further. Invest in a good pool filter and keep cleaning materials close by at all times to help prevent the spread of infections.
- Install correct lighting for your area. Although proper lighting is essential for the safety of your guests, you must ensure they are installed correctly. It can vary depending on the jurisdiction, but many Ohio towns require that your lights project less than 10 feet above average pool grade.
- Create house rules and display them prominently. Making a list of “house rules” and displaying it prominently near the poolside can make your case stronger if someone has reason to file a personal injury suit. It also demonstrates that you took reasonable action to prevent pool injuries from occurring.
If you need assistance navigating the regulations for residential pools in Toledo, contact our highly awarded team of personal injury attorneys at Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. We have national recognition in matters of premises liability, and we promise to take your case seriously.