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Posted in Newcomers

Published on September 04, 2015 with No Comments

Labour Day weekend may be one of the last swimming weekends of the year, but that doesn’t lessen the risks to Ontarians who face dangers whether they are around the swimming pool or swimming hole.

For homeowners with a private outdoor pool the good weather means getting the pool open for a summer of fun. That also means it’s time for a review of backyard pool safety. In 2011, there were 97 deaths by drowning in Ontario. The Ontario Medical Association estimates that all of them were preventable.

Children are especially vulnerable in swimming pools and it quite literally only takes a few seconds for a child to drown. Many homeowners with a pool believe that if they are compliant with the local pool fencing and enclosure by-laws that that are exempt from civil liability in the event of an accident.  The truth is that homeowners need to pay special attention to all aspects of pool safety because ultimately they will be held liable and potentially prosecuted if they fail to provide a reasonable level of pool safety.

Here are a few safety tips to get started;

-Check that your pool enclosure is built to code and in a state of good repair and that the door swings closed and latches so that small children can’t accidentally wander into the pool area.
-Set a height limit – if a child is too small for the deepest part of the pool they will need a proper life jacket.
-Novelty inflatables and noodles are not swimming or safety devices – don’t rely on them to keep children safe.
-Children need to be supervised at all times.
-Get some CPR training.
-Make sure that your home insurance covers you for pool liability.

Another topic that is sometimes but not always related to pool safety is the danger of diving into shallow or unknown water. Whether diving into pools or from a dock, rock, cliff or boat, diving can be filled with hidden dangers.

In Ontario, diving related accidents accounted for nearly 60 per cent of all recreation related spinal cord injuries over a 35 year period. This amounts to close to 60 major spinal injuries per year in Ontario alone, 90 per cent of which result in complete or incomplete quadriplegia. Approximately 50 per cent of victims are 15-24 years of age. The result is that most victims incur long periods of disability and face an enormous financial burden to pay for the care they require.

A person injured diving into a pool or a lake may be able to recover some of their lost wages and future care costs if their accident occurs on private property. Landowners, particularly those with docks and swimming pools, who are aware that the water on their property may be unsuitable for diving, have a duty to warn others of the shallow depth of the water. In addition, under the Occupiers Liability Act, a property owner owes a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure that people using his or her property are safe.

These are just a few tips around pool and diving safety.


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