Safe pool: Swimming pool safety is all about awareness

Parents supervising children in the pool, children wearing safety vest

Splashing in a backyard swimming pool is one of summer’s greatest pleasures for Canadians from coast to coast.

However, the fun of owning a pool comes with additional risks ­­- from accidental drowning to slips and falls on the pool deck. As a homeowner, you can be held liable for injuries and deaths that take place in your pool, even if the victim was trespassing.

How your insurance protects you

Your Aviva Homeowner’s Property Insurance Policy provides Liability protection if you’re sued as a result of an accident, injury or death associated with pool usage. You can add an extra layer of protection with an additional Liability Umbrella Policy, which increases the Liability limits.

Know your municipality’s swimming pool rules

It’s important to know that a condition of your insurance agreement is knowing and abiding by the pool safety requirements in your municipality. They vary across the country but typically include rules about fencing, pool depth and signage. Not complying with swimming pool safety measures required in your community could invalidate your policy and coverage.

Pool rules to know by heart to improve your safety

These additional best practices and safety tips will keep you and your guests safe:

  • Ensure your in-ground pool is at least 1/2 metre deep
  • Have a fence around your pool with a lockable gate and a ‘No Trespassing’ sign to prevent kids and others from getting too close
  • Install diving boards, slides and jumping rocks in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions - and strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s swimming pool depth recommendations
  • Don’t allow diving in shallow areas - inform all swimmers and children about the depth(s) of the pool and post signs advising of ‘Shallow Water’ and ‘No Diving’
  • Ensure everyone in your home has CPR training to aid in drowning prevention
  • Always supervise children in and around the pool - never leave a child alone, even in a kiddie pool
  • Ensure all children who have not yet learned to swim are wearing appropriate safety vests - floating toys do not count as safety devices
  • Avoid using the pool during a thunderstorm and other hazardous conditions
  • For evening swimming, ensure the pool, deck, and patio are adequately illuminated
  • Avoid reckless behaviour and drinking alcohol or taking drugs in and around the pool
  • Keep the area around the pool clear of toys and furniture to prevent tripping
  • When the pool is not in use, remove all toys and flotation devices
  • Always have a phone nearby to call for help, if necessary
  • If you have a pool with a ladder, remove it when the pool is not in use
  • Ensure your hot tub hard cover has a safety lock
  • Regularly remove debris in the water and check chlorine levels 
  • In the off-season, don’t let children or pets near your covered pool - it’s just as dangerous in the winter as it is in the summer
  • Ideally hire a professional to open and close the pool and check for cracks

As a property owner, it’s up to you to ensure that all visitors to your premises are safe. You can do that by creating, communicating and posting rules for using your swimming pool rules so they know how to safely enjoy it.

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