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How homeowners in Georgia can keep their pools safe

According to the CDC, there are 7.4 million swimming pools and 5 million hot tubs in public or residential use across the U.S. At the same time, there are more than 3,500 non-boating drowning accidents every year, many of them occurring in pools. Pools present other hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals and mechanical failure.

Homeowners will want to consider the following tips, which can be broken into three areas of safety. The first is the pool perimeter; it should be guarded by a climb-resistant fence at least 4 feet tall with vertical slats no more than 4 inches apart, no easy footholds for climbing and a self-closing gate. An alarm that detects surface motion in the pool can be helpful in preventing accidents.

Secondly, families should develop pool safety rules and make sure all guests are familiar with them. No one should run or play with riding toys around the pool. Electrical appliances should be kept away. Flotation toys should be deflated when not in use. No one should dive in shallow areas.

Lastly, it's important to avoid mechanical and chemical issues. The pool pump should be accessible in case it needs to be turned off in an emergency. Suction fittings and plumbing grates should be secure. Chemicals should be properly labeled and locked away.

All homeowners have a responsibility to keep entrants safe. When entrants slip and fall around the pool or drown, the victim or the family may have the grounds for a premises liability claim. They will have to show that it was a preventable accident, and a personal injury lawyer may provide assistance. Pools are an "attractive nuisance," so if the victim was a trespassing child, the victim still may have a valid claim against the homeowner.

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