During the summer of Coronavirus, Texans have been spending more time at home rather than out and about. While many people believe their families are perfectly safe at home, away from car accidents and other instances of danger, there is a hidden menace lurking in their own backyards: swimming pools.
Recent reports and statistics show that the United States is seeing a massive uptick in accidental drownings of children. The biggest cause of these drownings is residential swimming pools. “Residential locations make up 71% of the fatal drowning incidents” according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Nikki Fleming.
The age group most at risk for accidental drownings are between one and four years old. Cases of drowning in this age group have risen steadily for the past three years. For the sake of your children and any other children that spend time at your home, there are precautions that every pool owner should take in order to prevent these tragic accidents.
Helpful Tips For Backyard Pool Safety
1. All pools and hot tubs should have multiple barriers to prevent tragedy
Pools and hot tubs should always have four-wall fencing that completely encloses the water, with gates for access. The gates should be self-closing and have alarms to alert adults when they are opened. The gates should stop children from entering the pool area, but having them fitted with alarms provides an extra layer of safety. Secondary barriers, in the form of either a tension cover or a hard cover, should be used over both hot tubs and pools. These secondary barriers should be impossible for children to remove without the help of their parents.
Having gates alone drops the rate of accidental drownings by 50%. Having gates can also help prevent the neighborhood children from wandering onto your property and getting themselves into a potentially dangerous situation in your pool. A safe pool area does not just keep your own children safe. It makes the neighborhood safer for everyone.
2. All bodies of water need to be taken seriously
From a bucket of water to a shallow kiddie pool, children are at risk of drowning in these small bodies of water despite their size. A bucket of water may not seem dangerous, but small children can get stuck in the water-filled bucket and drown without your knowledge. To prevent this, all buckets and kiddie pools should be drained every night to remove the possibility of an accident.
3. Use a designated watcher when kids are in the water
Even if your child is a good swimmer, you still have a responsibility to keep an eye on them when they are in the water. It is important not to become distracted by your phone, talking to a friend who stopped by, or cooking dinner. While your child swims, you should be attentively watching them at all times. Whether they are in your backyard pool, at the lake, or at the beach, losing sight of your child for even a split second can mean the difference between life and death.
4. Start swimming lessons early in your child’s life
Swimming lessons can save your child’s life, and they should start learning the basics of water confidence as early as is safely possible. Every parent should keep up with their child’s progress in swimming lessons, so they know the limits of their child’s abilities. Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses can help you determine what type of swimming is safe for them, and if they are ready to handle more demanding types of swimming, such as swimming in the deep end of the pool or in the waves at the beach.
Regardless of how old or skilled of a swimmer your child is, being vigilant in your safety measures can go a long way in preventing your child from becoming another tragic statistic. It is important to remember that accidental drowning can happen with older kids just as easily as the younger ones. The lucky thing for parents is that these tragedies are avoidable. By taking the proper preventative measures, pools can be made into the safe, fun, and relaxing places that are so necessary for beating the Texas summer heat.
Texas Laws and Swimming Pools
Pool owners in Texas have some important legal responsibilities to keep in mind. Premises liability laws in Texas do apply to pools, and there is specific language that discusses how to properly avoid liability for someone’s injuries or death in your pool. Premises liability is a set of laws that must be followed by homeowners in order to ensure their property is considered “safe” for visitors.
Texas law lays out numerous requirements for pool owners. The most important requirement is that the pool area be properly fenced off. As noted above in tip number one, we recommend you follow Texas law by installing a fence with self-closing and latching gates. By installing a fence that completely encloses the pool area, your pool becomes much safer, and you become less vulnerable to liability. Besides the fence, there are a few other safety measures that are required by law.
Texas state law requires that you have a throwing rope and a non-conductive reaching pole for the pool. The law also requires a pool cover to be present and for pool owners to be watching children at all times while they are swimming.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries or died in someone else’s pool, your time is ticking on your ability to file a premises liability lawsuit.
Reyes Browne Reilley law firm has been practicing personal injury and premises liability law for 30 years. We have what you need to pursue your recovery for your injuries or the death of a loved one. Our attorneys operate on a contingency retainer fee. This means that as long as we’re working on your case, you don’t owe us a dime. In fact, if we don’t win your case, our services are absolutely free.
No up-front consultation fees or attorney hourly fees. You can trust you’re getting the best legal team because we only collect payment when we help you make the proper recovery. Call us today for your 100% free and confidential consultation at (214) 526-7900.