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Premises liability and swimming pools: part I

In the coming summer months, many residents in the Albany area will head to both private and public pools to cool off. While swimming pools are readily associated with having fun, every swimming pool, regardless of size or depth also poses hazards. For homeowners who own swimming pools, it's important to ensure that steps are taken to provide for the safety of pool guests and to protect against possible trespassers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 32,000 people in drown annually in the U.S. In addition to drowning dangers, individuals walking on the deck of a swimming pool are also at risk of slipping and falling. Components within a swimming pool, like a drain or drain cover, can also be dangerous and a child or adult who becomes caught in a drain is likely to suffer serious injuries.

While swimming pools pose certain inherent dangers, there are steps homeowners and cities can take to reduce the likelihood that pool guests will suffer injuries. For example, erecting a strong fence that is a sufficient height around a pool can be used to keep children and others who should not be in a pool, out. It's also important to have rules or signs posted regarding diving. In cases where a pool is too shallow and an individual dives in, he or she is likely to suffer serious injuries including those to the head, neck and spine.

Every swimming pool owner should also keep a first aid kit nearby a pool's deck as well as floating devices and reaching poles which can be used to help rescue swimmers. It's also wise to ensure that children are always supervised and that at least one adult knows how to perform CPR.

Unfortunately, there are times when, despite a homeowner's or city's best efforts to keep a swimming pool and its immediate vicinity safe and hazard-free, accidents occur that may leave those impacted suffering serious or fatal injuries. In our next blog post, we'll examine factors that must be proven in premises liability matters related to swimming pools accidents and injuries.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "I'm installing a pool - what kind of insurance do I need?," June 5, 2014

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