Florida mom, state lawmaker push for stricter pool safety

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida lawmaker is pushing for stricter backyard pool safety laws.

Sen. Ed Hooper filed a bill earlier this month that would increase the pool safety requirements to pass inspection. A Florida mom, whose 2-year-old son died in a family friend’s backyard pool, is pushing the change for stricter pool safety laws along with Hooper.  Brittany Howard wants to prevent other families from going through the same heartbreak.

“I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody. You don’t realize. I can’t go into Target and I see the little boy section and I lose it," Howard said.

Currently, backyard pools only need to have one safety barrier in place, such as proper fencing or a door alarm. However, the new bill would require all new pools to have two safety features. The different safety barriers include proper fencing, a door or window alarm, a secure pool cover, a swimming pool alarm and a self-closing or self-latching device on doors leading to the pool.

“If we have those multiple layers in place then if one fails, hopefully the other will keep the curious child from running out into danger,” said Cynthia Dennis, of Safe Kids Northeast Florida.

Dennis said requiring two safety features instead of one would be a step in the right direction to keep kids safe around pools.

“The more barriers you have to the water and the more safety devices you have in place to keep little kids from wandering out during those few moments when an adult is not with them or not looking is what we’ve always taught and what is always best.”

According to the USA Swimming Foundation, Florida led the nation as the state with the most child drownings last year. According to the report, 44 drownings were reported in the Sunshine State in 2018.

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