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2007-07-19 18:02:00

Q & A About Swimming Pool Safety - Caveat for Property Owners

Q  Can we prohibit children under 14 in our spa?

You are required by California law to prohibit children under 14 years of age from using spas unless they are accompanied by an adult. You are required to post special signage warning that the elderly, pregnant women and infants should consult with their doctors before using the spa.

Could we be held liable if a child drowns in our pool? We have it fenced in, but parents don't always watch their kids.

Yes, but only if you were found to be negligent in the design, construction or operation of the swimming pool. Your standard of care is what a reasonably prudent apartment owner or operator would have done in similar circumstances.

Can we have a rule that there should be one adult supervising every three children in the pool area? We have a woman who cares for six children under four years of age and she brings them to the pool almost every day. There is no way she can watch all of them safely.

This is a Catch-22 situation. There is a potential health and safety risk with that many small children, so that may be a reasonable policy. On the other hand, such a policy could potentially be the subject of a fair housing claim based upon age discrimination.

Can we have a rule that no infants can be in the pool? I'm concerned about wet diapers in the water making it unsanitary.

You could and should have a policy that all persons shall have suitable swimwear, and that, for health reasons, all persons who are incontinent, must wear waterproof protection. To restrict their use completely may lead to a fair housing challenge based upon age discrimination.

What should we do if a resident repeatedly breaks our pool rules? Can we suspend her pool use privileges?

Yes, as long as the incidents are well-documented and you are consistent in upholding the suspension with all violators. 

(LegalEase is intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact the nearest office to discuss the facts of your particular situation. Kimball, Tirey & St. John makes no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, with regard to this information. Kimball, Tirey and St. John shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages in connection with, or arising out of, the use of any information herein contained.)

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