Insurance Blog
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 16:37

Prevent Accidental Pool Drownings

Drowning is the Leading Cause of Unintentional Death in Children Under the Age of 5

This past June, life changed tragically for former Olympic alpine skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan Beck Miller. Their 19 month-old daughter, Emmy, drowned as a result of an accident in a neighbor’s pool.

The parents talked openly about the accident during an interview on the “Today” show this week. “I can attest from first-hand experience that it’s unbelievable quick and it’s unbelievable sneaky,” Bode said. He added, “You’d think it’d be, like some weird circumstance or some strange thing. And it’s not. It just happens in the blink of an eye.” The still grieving Millers discussed their commitment to increasing awareness about drowning, which is one of the most common deaths among young children. Bode and Morgan believe it’s their obligation to help prevent this from happening to others parents. “It’s one of those things where, as a parent now,” Morgan said, “when you go to someone else’s house, survey the home to see if it’s a safe place for your child to be.”


Drowing Facts

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released its annual report finding that there was no significant increase in the number of reported fatal drownings in swimming pools involving children younger than five since the 2017 report. While this is good news, children under the age of five are still the most vulnerable to accidental drownings. Furthermore, the reported numbers do not include deaths related to pool accidents.

In light of this information, parents and families are encouraged to review and follow basic pool safety tips before going in or around the water to ensure a safer and happy summer.

Swimming pools and spas are great places for family fun, yet It’s important to ensure everyone follows these simple safety steps to stay safer in and around the water.

  1. Never leave a child unattended in water.
  2. Check the immediate area around pools and hot tubs to identify potential safety issues.
  3. Teach children how to swim. 

Sadly, the heartbreaking news of accidental pool drownings occurs every summer season. To ensure the your safety of your children, we encourage you to take the Pool Safety Pledge sponsored by

The Adult Pledge

Morgan Miller emphasizes, “It’s one of those things where, as a parent now, when you go to someone else’s house, survey the home to see if it’s a safe place for your child to be.” Additionaly, parents can take the pledge at the Pool Safely website. The pledge asks adults to:

  • Designate a water watcher every single time children in their care is in or near the water
  • Make sure their own children know how to swim.
  • As a parent or guardian, learn CPR.
  • Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use.
  • Ensure all permanent pools have a proper fence and gate and safer drain covers.

One minute is that's needed to take the pledge.

The Children's Pledge

"Pool Safely" is a national public education campaign that works with partners around the country to reduce child drownings and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. Children are asked to pledge the following:

  • "Pool Safely" each time they go to a pool.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Ask for swimming lessons.
  • Stay away from drains in the pool or hot tub.
  • Have fun and always follow these safety steps when in and around the water.

Family Swim Safety Courses

Swim safety courses are available at local YMCAs. The American Red Cross and National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF) have partnered to create an online Home Pool Essentials course for $19.95 that describes steps home pool owners can take to prevent tragedy and keep a well maintained pool or hot tub. Their Home Safety Resource Guide is available at no cost. To further help families, the Miller family recently announced their plan to donate money from their daughter's foundation to water safety education programs to encourage families to participate in swim safety programs. 

Prevent Accidental Drowing & Near Drowning

Preventing accidental drownings and other personal injury from occuring at a pool is a great responsibility. It starts with constant and close supervision of pool occupants at all times. However, supervision alone is not enough.

One of the most dangerous risks around pools arises when no one is in the pool and when the pool is unsupervised — a time when someone, most likely a child, can wander into the pool area without the owner's consent or knowledge. To further protect occupants in and around the pool area, install safety devices which include:

  • a fence or gate that latches and locks around the pooI
  • a pool cover that can be latched or secured
  • an alarm that alerts the owners when there is movement near or in the pool.

The Millers were careful parents who installed those safety devices around their pool, but their daughter died as a result of near drowning in a neighbors pool. Their mission today is to affect real change by promoting a more vigilant approach to water safety.

A Pool Owner's Legal Liability and Accountability

Legally, pool owners are responsible for providing a safe environment for those who use the pool, including those who use it without permission, as well as people who live near the pool. Law firm Keller & Keller states that, "Property owners are responsible for keeping their pool secure. If a homeowner has a pool and does not take adequate measures to prevent unwanted or unsupervised individuals from gaining access to the pool, they can end up assuming liability if an accident occurs."

Does Homeowners Insurance Include Pool Coverage?

The liability section of your homeowners insurance may cover pool-related accidents that occur on your property. However, pool owners may want to consider adding more liability coverage for unintentional drowning. If you own a pool in Massachusetts or Southern New Hampshire, check with us to ensure that you have the right coverage. We'll review your homeowner's policy and provide information on available options for your protection. 


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