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Wait. What? It’s summertime - the living should be easy (and ideally stress-free). But while it might be tempting to spend your summer lounging by the pool and worrying about nothing more than when you need to reapply sunblock, the reality is there are still some risks you need to consider this time of the year.
With more people hanging around and spending time in the great outdoors, there’s a heightened risk of injury. If you own a home or any “toys” (like boats, kayaks, or jet skis) you need to consider your risk - and find out what you can do to stay protected.
Here are some of the most common summertime liabilities and tips to help everyone stay safe this summer.
Liability #1 - Boats, Jet Skis, and Kayaks
Many of us take to the lake for fun on the water, and while those long days on the lake can be great for the old memory bank, there are also some risks.
If you’re headed out on any kind of boat, in any depth of water, make sure everyone knows how to swim and has been educated on watercraft safety. Always wear a life jacket and remember - federal regulations dictate that all children younger than 13 years of age must wear a life jacket at all times.
When you’re tubing or water skiing, make sure everyone knows the right hand signals. Set up some nonverbal communication plans so everyone stays safe on the water - driver and passenger included.
Finally, keep an eye on the weather patterns and don’t head out on the water if the forecast looks turbulent. Remember conditions can change at a moment’s notice, creating a precarious situation for everyone involved.
Liability #2 - Swimming Pools
With kids home from school this summer, one of your biggest liabilities is also your home’s biggest attraction - the swimming pool. According to the CDC, more children ages 1-4 die from drowning each year than any other cause besides birth defects.
Never allow kids to swim unsupervised or to dive into shallow water. Don’t allow running near the pool and remember, if an injured child is a visitor to your home, you can be held liable - even if you didn’t invite the kid over or if they are trespassing.
Limit access to the fence with a gate and set clear policies for the pool’s use. Avoid dividing boards and slides when possible.
Liability #3 - Trampolines and Tree Houses
Last but not least, two kid favorites - trampolines and treehouses. If you have either of these in your backyard, you need to watch out for the following risks.
According to an estimate by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, in 2014 alone, there were 6,932 emergency department visits related to trampolines. Most of these were children five or younger.
Fortunately, there are easy steps you can take. Limit access to the trampoline with a self-locking gate so young kids can’t get to it while they are unsupervised. Make sure you have the right netting and padding and set strict rules for its use.
The same goes for treehouses. The biggest risk surrounding treehouse use is the risk of falls. Again, restrict access - and whenever possible, build it low. Although it sounds macabre, build the treehouse with the assumption that, at some point or another, somebody will fall. Plan for the worst and you can keep everyone safe.
Stay Safe All Summer Long
You might be tempted to send the kids to camp all summer - and to avoid those vacations on the lake - to reduce your liability. However, you don’t need to cancel all of your plans and stay locked inside to stay safe. You just need to plan ahead.
Most home insurance policies come with numerous types of liability coverage. These can keep you safe if someone is injured on your property. Medical payments coverage and liability protection can help with medical expenses, legal costs, and damages.
Of course, preventing accidents is always the best course of action - and following the safety tips above can help you do just that. But if you want to add an extra layer of protection, talk to your insurance agent about what kind of coverage you currently have in place (and whether you need to add some more).
Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. is here to help you with all of the insurance needs you have this summer - and for all the other months of the year, too. Get in touch today for a quote. We’ll simplify the complicated…for insurance.