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The Joneses just got a brand new, backyard swimming pool for the summer. And while you're not worried about keeping up with them, you might be worried about keeping your kids safe.
Accidental drownings in swimming pools occur so frequently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has an entire site dedicated to pool safety. So are the Joneses responsible for putting a fence around their new pool?
Duty to Prevent Harm
Swimming pools can be great fun, but they can also be what are known under the law as an "attractive nuisance." There's a reason that theme parks call their rides "attractions" -- they get kids' attention. The problem with an attractive nuisance like a pool is the hidden danger involved.
An attractive nuisance is something that a property owner has a reason to believe will attract children to his or her property and poses some danger to children. If a property owner fails to take reasonable steps to prevent children from being harmed by the nuisance, he or she may be liable for any injuries that occur.
Most courts consider swimming pools to be attractive nuisances, so swimming pools owners should take steps to make sure children aren't injured in or around their pools.
The CPSC recommends installing a 4-foot fence around the perimeter of any pool or spa and using self-closing and self-latching gates. Pool and spa owners should own and maintain proper covers, and keep life-saving equipment like reaching poles and life rings near the pool and available at all times. You may also want to check with your homeowner's association (if applicable) or any municipal or state regulations requiring pool construction to see if a fence is required.
Pool parties will be ubiquitous this summer, but pool party injuries don't have to be. Knowing the legal risks of pool ownership as well as some basic pool safety and healthy swimming tips can help you out of hot water.
But if an injury does occur at a neighbor's or a public pool, you may want to consult an experienced personal injury attorney near you.