There is nothing better than diving into a cold pool of water in the hot afternoon sun. While a backyard pool may equal bliss on a hot day it can also be fraught with danger (and legal liability) if proper steps are not taken to ensure that everyone has a safe dip in the water.
With that in mind we offer a few tips below to keep your backyard pool a place to make happy and not tragic memories:
• Ensure your backyard pool is secured by a fence with a self latching gate;
• Do not give your friends and neighbours an ‘open’ invitation to swim in your yard when you are not around;
• Ensure that your pool is locked and secured at night and when you are away from it;
• Always ensure that children are supervised by competent sober adult supervision. Remember that even strong swimmers can get into trouble in the right circumstances;
• Become aware of what a drowning person actually looks like. It is certainly not how it is portrayed of film with a lot of yelling and splashing around – very often drowning is a completely silent and quick event.
• As parents, if your children have friends over to swim never make the assumption that your children’s friends are strong swimmers. Very frequently weak swimmers or non swimmers, bowing to peer pressure and anxious to keep up with their friends may venture too far into the water in spite of the poor swimming skills.
• Again, as a pool parent, if your child’s friends are coming over, ensure that the parents’ of the friend are being made aware that their child will be swimming in the pool. While little Johnny might be too embarrassed to tell his friends that he can not swim, his parents should readily disclose this fact to you.
• Diving and sliding accidents can have devastating consequences. Before diving and sliding into any water ensure that the depth is sufficient and that you are using proper technique.
• Don’t make the assumption that only large pools are dangerous, child size pools and even backyard ponds have sufficient water and depth to cause drowning.
Contributed by Angela Comella, an OTLA lawyer practising with Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers in Toronto, Ont.