This article, originally written by Anne Dennon on talks about home pool drowning liability and how you can prevent it.

Home Pool Drowning Liability & Prevention Guide

If you have a pool or hot tub on your property, whether in-ground or above-ground, implement a safety plan before tragedy strikes. Then make sure you’re holding the right insurance. You may need to purchase extra personal liability coverage to cover your pool’s costly risks.

How to prevent pool accidents

There are two distinct high-risk groups for drowning: children under the age of five and boys ages 15-19. Take the following measures to keep pool-users safe — and make your pool less inviting to youths when adults aren’t around to supervise.

Educate young swimmers

The three top safety tips from Pool Safely, a governmental public education campaign by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, all deal with kids in the water.

  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
  • Teach children how to swim.
  • Teach children to stay away from drains.

Kids should have a healthy respect for any body of water, even if it’s the small, kidney-shaped one in their backyard. Swimming lessons are paramount, but there’s more to learn than knowing how to float and stroke. Educate kids about the dangers of water, both drowning and getting hair or jewelry caught in drain suction, as well as how to spot when others are having difficulty in the water.

Importantly, drowning doesn’t always look as dramatic as movies make it appear. Kids could look like they’re just playing underwater, but open mouths, glassy eyes, or efforts to swim without making progress all clue you into danger.

Know CPR

If you have a pool, you should know CPR. Find a class through the Red Cross or a local organization, then keep CPR literature near the pool for the benefit of guests. Note that there’s different CPR protocol for infants, kids, and adults.

While the quick administration of CPR can be life-saving, a child who has experienced drowning is not out of the clear as soon as he or she is out of the water and breathing. Secondary or dry drowning can strike hours or days after the incident, aggravated by leftover water in the lungs. Prolonged coughing, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, and loss of bowel or bladder control (among other symptoms) should alert you to bring your child to the ER.

Establish pool rules

Any kids who use your pool should know the rules. The top rule: No swimming without adult supervision. The Center for Injury Research and Policy states that when watching children in the pool, you shouldn’t have the distraction of a book, a phone, or a conversation. And the younger the swimmers, the closer you need to be: Toddlers should never be beyond an arm’s length from you in water.

Build a fence

A high, locked fence that surrounds all four sides of the pool is your best bet. Four feet is probably tall enough (five-year-olds stand about 3’6” at most) but consider going higher to block out the view of the pool and deter older kids from climbing. On the subject of climbing, vertical posts are better than horizontal. The gate should remain locked when not in use; consider installing an alarm that responds to tampering.

Use safety features

A covered pool is simply not as alluring as an open, sparkling blue surface — and that’s the point. Safety covers fit snugly over your pool, creating a visual and physical barrier that can deter impromptu visitors.

In addition to covering your pool when it’s not in use, be sure to clear away pool toys. The pool should look “closed” when you or another adult isn’t around to supervise use.

Lastly, keep a life ring with rope in a secure, nearby location, as well as a shepherd’s hook.

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