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Pools and spas are attractive nuisances for unsupervised kids

Backyard swimming pools are great fun to have in the summertime. But they are classified for legal and insurance purposes as "attractive nuisances" for good reason, as they can pose grave dangers to unaccompanied children.

Pool owners must make sure unsupervised kids cannot gain access to an outdoor spa or backyard pool. While a determined child or teen may be able to thwart attempts to deny access, having at least a four-foot-high fence completely surrounding the area is a good deterrent. Gates should latch and lock when not in use.

Responsible pool owners take extra steps for security, such as setting pool alarms to go off when someone enters the water and covering the surface of the pool or spa with a cover.

The design of some pools uses the house itself as the fourth side of the barrier. If this is the case, the door(s) opening onto the pool should also have alarms that are set to go off when the door is opened.

If there are covers on the spa or pool, they should be free of defects and the device that controls the opening and closing of the covers should be kept out of kids' reach. Ladders to above-ground pools should be removed and stored away from the pool when it's not being used.

Some jurisdictions impose specific requirements pool and spa owners must follow to remain compliant with local or state laws. Pool owners should find out what those are before they install or set up those amenities.

If you are the parent of a child who drowned or nearly drowned due to a pool owner's negligence, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the at-fault party and his or her homeowner's insurance company.

Source: PoolSafely.gov, "Summer Safety Barrier Checklist for Pool and Spa Owners," accessed July 07, 2017

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