Backyard swimming pools are a great way to relax, enjoy the weather, and get some exercise. Unfortunately, they can also be somewhat dangerous. Did you know that as pool owner, you can be legally responsible for any pool accidents or injuries that occur? Did you know that this rule can apply even when you did not invite your visitor or the visitor swam in your pool without your permission or knowledge? It’s true!
This is obviously a serious concern that pool owners need to be aware of. While your homeowners’ insurance may help in situations where you may be liable, it is also a good idea to take precautions to avoid pool accidents and keep all of your pool visitors safe.
Legal Requirements for Massachusetts Swimming Pools
Massachusetts law requires that all pools have a fence around them. The fence must be at least four feet tall because children are especially likely to be uninvited guests in backyard pools. The gate should also be self-latching and self-closing to as well.
If the fence also surrounds the home, there should be an alarm on the home so you know when someone leaves your home to get closer to the pool. This is especially helpful when you are trying to avoid children getting into the pool by themselves.
Following these legal requirements can go a long way toward avoiding accidents while you are not home or not watching your pool closely. These requirements not only promote safety; they are also the law!
Keeping the Pool Safe
You should keep in mind that the standard for most pool accidents is whether the pool owner was negligent in the upkeep or safety precautions for their pool. If someone is negligent, that means that they were careless or did not act in a way that a reasonable person would in their situation. Taking safety measures around your pool can help you avoid a situation where someone else attempts to claim that you are negligent.
There are many ways that you can keep the pool safe this summer, and decrease the likelihood of legal liability. Below are a few ideas.
- Install non-slip surfaces around the edge of the pool. Slip and fall accidents are very common near a slippery pool edge. They can lead to serious injuries, like head trauma and broken bones. They can also result in drowning in some situations. Place non-slip mats or adhesive strips around your pool to help prevent slip and fall accidents.
- Install a pool cover and use it when the pool is not in use. A pool cover not only helps keep out debris of your pool, it will also discourage children and trespassers from using the pool in your absence.
- Never let children swim alone. Children are by far the most common victims of drowning, and the reason is usually because they were not watched closely enough while swimming. Make sure everyone knows how to swim on their own. Accidental drowning can occur in a matter of seconds, so be sure to watch closely!
- Learn CPR. If an emergency arises, you need to know what to do. Taking a First Aid class and CPR can help you keep your cool in an emergency situation. You should also have a phone nearby at all times so you can call for help if needed.
Your backyard pool is a great place for the whole family when used properly. From everyone at Jim Glaser Law—we hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer!