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Ensuring swimming pool safety in three steps

Homeowners in Georgia preparing for some fun get-togethers around the swimming pool should know about their duty to keep others safe. Every year in the U.S., 3,536 people die in unintentional non-boating drowning accidents, according to the CDC. In the following three steps, homeowners can reduce the likelihood of drowning and other incidents on their property.

First, homeowners can install a climb-resistant pool fence, 4 feet or higher and with vertical slats no more than 4 inches apart. They must make sure there are no footholds or handholds that others can use for climbing. Pools are legally considered an attractive nuisance, which means that pool owners are responsible even for children who trespass since they may not understand the consequences of trespassing. Installing an alarm might also be wise.

Homeowners can then develop pool safety rules for the benefit of their family and for any visitors. There should be rules against, for example, running, horseplay, riding on tricycles and using electric appliances like radios around the pool. A first-aid kit should be readily accessible. Flotation toys should be deflated at the end or locked up.

Third, homeowners must address mechanical and chemical risks. Chemicals should be in their original containers, properly labeled and stored in a locked location. Pool suction fittings and plumbing grates should be secure, and the pool pump shutoff should be accessible.

Many pool accidents are preventable accidents. If the homeowner failed to fulfill his or her duty of care to a visitor and the visitor was injured as a result, then there may be good grounds for a personal injury claim. This is where the victim may want to have a lawyer evaluate the case. If retained, the lawyer may speak on the victim's behalf at the negotiation table. If a settlement cannot be achieved, the victim might want to litigate.

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