We here at Schrier Law Group are happy reporting that Florida State Senator Ed Hooper filed a bill in late December that requires stricter pool safety measures. It was inspired by the drowning death of a young boy. With the number of drownings in the state, something had to be done
The bill (SB 124) is called the “Kacen’s Cause Act” named after Kacen Howard, who drowned in his family’s pool a day before his third birthday in 2017. In response to the tragedy, his mother, Brittany Howard, worked to advocate for more effective safety requirements, resulting in the act.
Hooper, who represents voters in House District 16 in Pasco County, sponsored similar legislation in the 2020 session. That bill and its House companion died in committee.
What Does the Bill Alter
The bill would alter current Florida codes to require that pools have at least two of the state’s listed safety measures in place. Under current law, only one is required. One code details fence specifications that require a 4-foot mesh fence around an outward swinging, self-closing, self-latching gate that is separate from any other fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard.
Drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind motor vehicle crashes for children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Other options require that all doors and windows with direct access to the pool are equipped with an exit alarm and that doors with direct access to the pool have a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism of a certain height. Pool owners can also install a swimming pool alarm that sounds an alarm upon detection of an accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water.
The requirement of an additional code seeks to ensure that if one safety precaution fails, another will prevent an accident. In Kacen’s case, the pool had a fence around it, but it was too weak and failed to prevent the toddler from falling into the water.
The bill also prohibits a property owner from selling a house with a swimming pool without meeting the new requirements.
The Schrier Law Group handles many pool injury & drowning cases. Schrier Law has the resources necessary to help you and your family score a successful outcome in your case. It is important that you have your rights defended by someone who knows the law. Contact the Schrier Law Group for a personal injury attorney in Florida today!