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Pool Accidents: What Swimming Pool Laws Apply?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 31, 2011 6:45 AM

Pool accidents are unfortunately common in the United States. Home owners and pool owners worried about liability from pool accidents should become informed about some of the swimming pool laws that regulate the use and ownership of pools, and of tips of how to prevent such tragic accidents from happening in the first place.

According to the CPSC, around 300 children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of drowning - and more than 2,000 are sent to the hospital.

The statistics alone should make any parent want to be more cautious - most of the victims who drowned were actually being supervised at the time the accident happened, and about 65% of accidents occurred in pools owned by the child's own family.

Private pool liability: Of course, owners of private pools should take care to secure the pool with a fence or some sort of enclosure designed to keep kids away. A pool owner could be legally liable for injuries sustained from a pool if the children were not adequately supervised, or if they had no barriers that would keep the children from entering the pool when there was no supervision.

Even if a child is not specifically invited onto the property to use the pool, the owner of the pool could still be liable under an "attractive nuisance" theory. Under this legal theory, if someone owns something dangerous - but attractive - to children on their property, they need to take care to secure whatever it is they own. A pool would fall under this category since it might attract a child's attention.

Public pool liability: Public pools are under different regulation by federal and state law. Owners of public pools are required to comply with certain federal and state regulations about the safety of the pool and the equipment that must be installed.

And, of course, both owners of public pools and private pools should not only be worried about swimming pool laws - but about how to prevent pool accidents in the first place. Installing safety mechanisms like barriers or latches is a start.

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