You've made the decision: It's time to have a swimming pool installed at your home. Whether you live in an area where backyard pools are ubiquitous or you have a budding Michael Phelps at home who needs a place to practice, swimming pool installation can be fun for your family as well as a way to increase the value of your property.

One thing you will want to do before breaking ground on swimming pool construction is find out about what liabilities you may face by having a home swimming pool and how to keep family members, neighbors, and pets safe. Every year, 43,000 people are injured around backyard swimming pools—so you'll want to do everything possible to avoid common dangers. Here are some planning tips:

1. Make sure you will have a secure barrier.

You don't just need to worry about the concrete of the actual pool—you'll need to have a fence or other high barrier all around the pool site. You should also post "No Trespassing" signs on the barrier and let others know they must ask and be guests of your home before being allowed in the pool area.

2. Set pool rules.

You'll want to decide what the guidelines will be for pool usage, keeping in mind pool safety recommendations from organizations like the Red Cross. Here are some suggested guidelines:

  • Never allow anyone, especially under age 18, to swim alone.
  • Always have life jackets available, and make non-swimmers wear them around the water.
  • Don't run or rough-house in the pool area.
  • Post "No Diving" signs and other pool rules.

3. Learn about safety equipment.

In addition to life jackets, there are other tools that you'll want to purchase to have near the pool, such as life preservers and reaching or throwing equipment. If someone does start to have issues in the water, a nearby person or other swimmer can assist using the equipment.

4. Have everyone in the home take a water safety course.

From the youngest children to the adults, everyone should know how to behave around the pool and what to do if there is an emergency. Find out when these classes, which are often offered by the Red Cross or your local municipal pool, are scheduled, and make sure everyone has participated before your home pool is due to be finished.

5. Talk to your home insurance provider.

If you did not have a pool when you first purchased your home insurance, you're likely to need more coverage once the new swimming pool is built.

Your insurance provider can go over your options for liability coverage and make recommendations to keep your bill as low as possible through appropriate safety measures.

Once you know how you will stay safe and avoid pool-related accidents, talk to your swimming pool construction contractor about implementing these and any additional safety measures.

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