As the summer heats up, many Arizona residents want to cool off in their own pool. While splashing around in the water can be a great source of family entertainment, backyard pools can also be potential liabilities. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I):
There are over 3,400 fatal accidental drownings in the U.S. annually, with children ages one to four having the highest drowning rates. Fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths for children ages one to 14 years old, according to the CDC. In addition, for every child who dies from drowning another four children will be treated for “nonfatal submersion injuries” which can cause brain damage that may result in long-term disabilities including memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g. permanent vegetative state).
Pool owners need sufficient liability coverage to cover their pool. Most homeowners insurance policies have at least $100,000 of liability protection. However, since pools are considered an “attractive nuisance,” homeowners may need additional liability coverage. The I.I.I. recommends at least $300,000 to $500,000 of liability coverage for pool owners. Homeowners also need enough insurance coverage to replace the pool if it is destroyed by a natural disaster.
Homeowners need to be aware that they can be liable for damages even if the person injured was using the pool without permission. In addition to purchasing sufficient liability coverage, homeowners should also consider the following safety precautions:
- Completely surround the pool with a four sided fence that is at least 5 feet high, as required by law. If a residence makes up one side of the pool enclosure, there must be a barrier between the home and the pool that is at least four feet high.
- Install an appropriate pool cover. Arizona requires a motorized, key-locking, ASTM approved pool cover.
- Layer child safety measures such as pool alarms that sound when a child enters the water, self-closing latches that prevent a child from opening the pool gate, and alarms on exterior doors or windows that will alert when doors leading to the pool are opened.
- Install a VBG compliant pool filter. Keep children away from pool filters or other suction devices and make sure that supervising adults know how to shut down the filter in case of an emergency.
- Make sure that pool guests know how to swim. Proficient swimmers should accompany beginners, and adults should supervise children at all times.
- Have emergency supplies such as ring buoys, reaching poles, and a first aid kit easily accessible. Post emergency numbers on the phone. Keep a phone close to the pool.
- Regularly check the pool area for hazards such as glass bottles or toys that could cause an accident. Keep radios or other electronic devices away from the pool.
- Restrict alcohol use near the pool. Alcohol is involved in almost half of water related deaths for both adults and teens.
- Learn basic life-saving techniques such as rescue breathing and CPR.
Taking these basic safety precautions can help you and your friends safely enjoy your pool this summer. Pool safety doesn’t just prevent claims on your homeowners insurance policy, it also saves lives.
For more information on pool safety, you can view the state guidelines at the Arizona Department of Health Services website.