More than half of swimming pool drownings among young people can be prevented by four-sided fencing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Insurance policies often require such a fence before coverage will be extended to a homeowner, said Michael Birdsong, who runs an agency in Oklahoma City.
Swimming pools are an “attractive nuisance,” he said, and steps must be taken to reduce the potential for accident.
“As inexpensive as liability is, it normally comes with $100,000 (coverage),” Birdsong said. “We would probably want to increase it to $300,000 to half a million. You'd hate to have somebody sue you, and you'd kick your butt if you knew it would only cost you an extra 20 dollars a year for the extra coverage.”
Make sure fencing includes self-closing and self-latching gates that are out of reach of children, and when the pool's not in use, clear it of toys that may entice children to enter.
Other suggestions, as provided by Oklahoma Health Department:
• Use locks or alarms for doors and windows that open to a pool area
• Install safety drain covers and backup devices
• Completely remove the pool cover
• Swim with a buddy and keep a phone nearby
• Do not swim while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Never leave children unsupervised; if a child is missing check the pool first.
Know your stuff
Learn how to swim well, learn CPR and start paying attention to those around you. Recognize whether or not your specific demographic is prone to drowning and water-related incidents, and then do something to make sure you're not a victim.
Seventy percent of black children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim and are especially vulnerable populations, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Nearly 80 percent of people who die from drowning each year are males.
And recognize that diving boards, slides and other recreational equipment — while fun — can be dangerous.