In the words of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, it’s “summer, summer, summertime.” The kids are out of school, the weather is hot, and pools throughout Wilmington are open for splashing. While pools can provide hours of fun for the whole family, they are not without risks. Unfortunately, drowning is the number one cause of accidental deaths among children ages 1-4.
If you have a pool, it is imperative that you take precautions to prevent injuries or deaths. This includes doing your part to follow all regulations, including having any required pool barriers and alarms, to keep your pool from being the site of a tragedy. The following recommendations are additional steps that can be taken to ensure pool safety and protect pool owners from liability in the event an incident occurs at your pool:
- Install pool barriers and pool alarms. These should include fences, gates, and covers.
- Ensure all drain covers are anti-entrapment.
- Keep the pool clean of debris and properly chemically treated. This will ensure it is not overly cloudy or otherwise obscuring anything submerged in the pool.
- Supervise, supervise, supervise. Non-swimmers should be kept within arms’ reach.
- Non-swimmers or poor swimmers should always wear floaties or a life jacket. If a child needs a life jacket, it should be on the minute he crosses the barrier on the pool deck until the minute he leaves.
- Swim lessons are a must. The best way to prevent accidental drowning is by teaching everyone how to swim. Kids should have an annual refresher course.
- Prepare for emergencies: all adults and older children should know water safety, first aid, and CPR. Rescue equipment should be kept within reach. Always keep a phone at the pool.
- Make sure all equipment, especially safety equipment such as rescue rings, are kept in good working order.
Lastly, it’s worth a look at your homeowners and/or liability insurance policy to confirm your pool is covered in the event of an incident. Also, make sure your coverage is not affected by a diving board or a slide if those are part of your pool.
This does not constitute legal advice. Please seek counsel from a legal professional to assess your specific situation.
Deedee Gasch has over a decade of experience litigating catastrophic claims involving serious injury or death. While Deedee’s practice is primarily focused on the defense of premises liability, trucking and commercial vehicle accidents, and medical malpractice, she also has a wide range of civil litigation experience. She spent approximately half of her career representing injured plaintiffs before returning to her first love of civil litigation defense work. This experience on both sides of a case uniquely situates her in negotiations and at trial if settlement is not possible. Deedee is a third-generation Tar Heel and attorney, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, a North Carolina Resident Superior Court Judge (deceased), and her father, a career trial lawyer. She has dual degrees in Journalism and Political Science and earned her law degree cum laude from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida, where she attended on a prestigious merit based scholarship. She is licensed to practice law in both North Carolina and Florida.