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How can homeowners make pools safer?

Pools are often considered an attractive nuisance. While people assume they'll lead to hours of enjoyment in the summer sun, the reality is that nothing causes more injuries or deaths than drowning accidents for kids who are 4 years old and younger. That's directly from the Orange County Fire Authority. In addition, 80 percent of these incidents happen in backyard pools.

So, with the risk being so very clear, what can people do to make pools safer? What steps should homeowners take, both to protect their own children and to protect others in the neighborhood?

First off, a five-foot-tall pool fence should be installed. It should have no openings, save for an access gate. Adults should also make sure that trees, chairs and tables are not close enough to the fence that kids can climb it.

The gate should have an automatic latch and a self-closing system. The latch should be on top, where a young child will not be able to reach it. Some gates even have child-proof latch systems, similar to those used with indoor baby gates.

If homeowners are worried that a gate alone is not enough, they may want to consider motion-detection alarms, flood lights, door alarms and pool covers. All of these can act as a second layer of defense if a child gets through the gate or over the fence.

In the event that an incident still takes place, homeowners should have a shepherd's crook and a ring buoy so that children who have fallen in can be pulled to safety.

When homeowners are negligent and leave these attractive nuisances open to the public, families of children who are hurt or killed need to know all of their legal options.

Source: City of Irvine, "Pool Safety," accessed April 20, 2018

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