In summer, swimming is one of the best ways to get exercise and have good, clean fun at the same time. However, it's important to be aware of potential injury hazards -- and how to prevent injuries -- when swimming in a public or private pool.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that swimmers look for certain features before entering a swimming pool.
- Fences: swimming pools should be completely enclosed by a fence that includes a self-closing, self-latching gate. A fence is crucial to help prevent small children from getting into a pool without adult supervision.
- Emergency gear: every pool should have emergency equipment, including a life ring, an AED (automated external defibrillator), first aid kit and phone nearby (with contact numbers for emergency services).
- Drain cover: look for an anti-entrapment cover over the pool's drain. Uncovered drains pose a risk to swimmers -- especially young ones -- of dangerous entanglement or entrapment.
- Pool cover: these coverings help prevent unsupervised children from falling into a pool. Whenever a pool isn't in use or supervised, it should be covered.
It's important for owners to make sure their pools have all of these features before allowing anyone to enter the water.
Failure to erect a suitable fence, for instance, can make an owner of a pool in Georgia liable for an injury to a trespassing child. An owner can similarly be potentially held liable for a guest's injury if the owner doesn't provide proper emergency equipment or supervision of the pool.
Georgia premises liability law also incorporates a legal concept known as "attractive nuisance." This is the acknowledgement by the justice system that certain things people manufacture and use, such as machinery and swimming pools and railroads, create attractions that serve as lures for children. Kids are drawn toward these things, often without being aware of the dangers these attractive nuisances can hold.
A swimming pool owner who fails to exercise reasonable care and take reasonable precautions to protect trespassing children from danger can potentially face enormous financial consequences if an injury or fatality results from that failure.
It is much safer, for all concerned, when swimmers and swimming pool owners exercise caution and make certain of the presence of safety features around swimming pools.
This is the third post in our series on summer safety tips. For more summer safety tips, such as staying safe when using fireworks or playing on the lake, refer to our earlier posts. Please check back for our next post on bicycle safety.