With the dog days of summer upon us, here's hoping your pool party doesn't belly-flop into a lawsuit.
When it comes to potential pool party liability, safety is key. Before you fire up the grill and play another round of "Marco Polo," take all the necessary pool safety precautions -- or you could get sued.
Here are a few tips on how to lawsuit-proof your pool party:
Prevent "toxic" pool injuries. During a party, lighting is key. But beware of dumping chemicals in the pool without considering the potential consequences. Last year, two ravers filed a lawsuit, alleging chemicals that made a pool glow under blacklights caused them partial vision loss. Swimming pool chemicals injure thousands yearly, but are largely preventable.
Repair and maintain nearby wires. Swimming pool electrocutions happen more often than you may think. If you have electricity powering lights or a pump that supplies water to a slide at your party, make sure the equipment and wiring is safe. And if you notice some precarious overhead wires, it may be best to call your local power company to get it checked out.
Protect young children. Pool parties are fun and games, but not for kids who don't know how to swim. Death and nonfatal injury rates for drowning are highest among children under 4. To protect the little ones, install a self-closing gate around the pool, have them wear "floaties" during the party, and always keep them supervised.
Prevent slip-and-fall accidents. Slip 'n Slides are fun. Slip 'n falls? Not so much. Keep partygoers off slick surfaces so they don't slip and fall into a lawsuit. You may want to lay rubber mats around the pool and make sure the diving board is in good working order.
Prevent drunk driving. A pool party often entails adult libations -- brewskies, pinot grigio and margs -- but don't let people drive home drunk. If you do, and someone gets hurt, then you could be on the hook for social host liability.
Prevent pool hopping. When the party's winding out, take precautions to keep mischievous "pool hopping" teens out. Though they're trespassers, your best bet is to fence-in and lock your pool when the party's over.