Summer Pool Party Hosting Liability: Ways to Protect Guests
Going to a summer pool party can be a great way to enjoy the warm weather and have fun with friends and family. However, despite their entertainment value, swimming pools pose a significant danger.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 6,800 drowning injuries for children under 15 years old in 2021, compared to 5,800 reports in 2020. Nearly three-quarters of reported drowning deaths in pools occurred at the victims’ homes or the homes of friends and family.
For an enjoyable experience as a guest at a pool party, it’s essential to recognize that the homeowner must take necessary precautions to ensure your safety. This means being aware of common hazards that can cause accidents and injuries around the pool.
A swimming pool can pose many hazards to guests if homeowners do not take proper precautions to maintain the premises. Common pool hazards include:
- Drain Entrapment
Entrapment occurs when a swimmer becomes stuck in a pool drain or trapped in an opening due to water suction. For instance, playing with the drain or sitting on a broken or uncovered drain can lead to serious injuries or even disembowelment.
- Insufficient Lighting
Insufficient lighting poses a danger at a pool party, impairing the visibility of swimmers and hazards in and around the water. Tripping hazards can go unnoticed, potentially leading to falls and injuries. A dimly lit pool area can make it harder to see swimmers, increasing the risk of accidents and drowning.
- Inadequate Fencing
The CPSC requires swimming pool fencing to be 48 inches high without any footholds and handholds, measured along the side facing away from the pool. Gates on fencing must also have self-closing and self-latching mechanisms. If the fencing is too low, children can access a pool by climbing over it.
- Lack of Supervision
Running near the pool area or engaging in rough play on wet and hard surfaces can cause people to lose their footing, resulting in a slip and fall. They can suffer various injuries, such as bruises, sprains, fractures, and head injuries. Swimmers, especially children, can drown in seconds without adequate supervision.
Many Missouri cities and counties have ordinances requiring property owners to keep their pool areas fenced and locked to prevent swimming pool accidents. If pool owners don’t adhere to these ordinances, they can be responsible for injuries and accidents for the following hazards due to negligence:
- No posted warnings against dangerous conditions at the pool, such as no running
- Failure to take adequate safety measures, such as not installing fencing around the pool
- Inattention to the pool’s supervision or monitoring
Pool owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors, identifying and fixing potential hazards, or warning guests of known dangers. If the owners fail to uphold this responsibility and a visitor is injured, the visitor can pursue compensatory damages through a slip and fall accident lawsuit.
Pool parties are a serious undertaking, and homeowners must take the necessary precautions to ensure their guests’ safety. The CPSC recommends these steps to ensure guests have a safe and entertaining time at a pool party:
- Provide adequate lighting: There should be appropriate lighting in and around the pool area so that the pool is well-lit at night and guests can see where they are walking.
- Set clear rules: Pool owners must set clear boundaries for pool use with their guests, such as no diving or running near the pool, and enforce them consistently. They can also post signs around the pool to ensure the guests follow the rules.
- Have appropriate pool equipment: This includes a four-foot fence around the pool with self-closing and self-latching gates, compliant drain covers, and a gate alarm.
- Always maintain supervision: Constantly supervise the pool, especially if children are at the pool party. Don’t allow them to play near dangerous pool drains. If you see a child missing, check the pool area first.
A secure fence, working equipment, and constant supervision should be put in place by homeowners to help prevent drowning and pool accidents. However, if you were in a slip and fall accident at a pool party, you can pursue compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages.
Seeking the help of experienced St. Louis slip and fall lawyers can help you navigate the legal process of filing your claim. Our team at Cofman Townsley has the experience to build a strong legal strategy and prove negligence on the part of the property owner.
Contact us for a free consultation to start your case and increase your chances of a fair settlement.