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Can a homeowner be held liable for a swimming pool accident?

There is no better time than the height of summer to cool off and relax at the pool. In fact, Massachusetts kids and adults alike often search out friends and neighbors with swimming pools so that they can get a little quality splash time in before the weather begins to turn once again. Unfortunately, though, many people underestimate just how dangerous backyard swimming pools can be. All homeowners and parents should acknowledge backyard swimming pool hazards so that serious and fatal accidents can be prevented this season.

Consumer Affairs discusses swimming pool safety, placing emphasis on the fact that children are particularly vulnerable to drowning in private pools. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, and many child-drowning incidents occur in less than five minutes. Each year across the country, around 350 children under the age of five drown, and 2,600 others require emergency medical treatment for drowning-related injuries. A huge number of drowning incidents are entirely preventable. However, too many homeowners underestimate the risks that their swimming pools pose to children.

Homeowners who have swimming pools on their property are responsible for ensuring that their premises are safe at all times. In fact, there are even instances where homeowners can be held liable for the safety of uninvited guests and/or trespassers on their property. This is especially important to remember in instances where neighborhood kids come to visit unexpectedly.

One major aspect of safeguarding children from drowning injuries is always providing proper supervision of the pool area. Homeowners should ensure that children are always accompanied by an able adult when near or in the water. Similarly, homeowners should prevent intoxicated adults from entering the pool as well. The pool area should be barricaded in a responsible way that prevents children from having access to the water, and all outdoor areas should be properly maintained and monitored to prevent avoidable injuries.

Given the serious nature of many pool-related injuries, homeowner liability can be extensive and complex. The information provided above only provides an overview of the topic, and cannot serve as legal advice.

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