The heat of summer is back. Swimming pools across the Sunshine State will soon be filled with friends and family having fun. That's why WaterSmartFL.com, wants you to know that pool safety is everyone's responsibility. According to the Florida Department of Health, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown annually in Florida before their fifth birthday. In fact, our state has the highest unintentional rate of drowning deaths in the nation for children 1 to 4 years of age; and the second highest drowning rate for children under 14 years of age. Although pool time is great fun for all ages, when a property owner fails to provide the proper supervision and safety, a beautiful day can become a family's worst nightmare.
Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act
Florida's residential pool safety act establishes protective requirements related to drowning accidents and premises liability claims. Chapter 515, Florida Statutes requires one of the following pool safety measures for pools built after October 1, 2000:
- A pool fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate — enclosing the pool and providing no direct access to it.
- An approved pool cover.
- Alarms on all doors and windows leading out to the pool.
- All doors provide direct access from the home to the pool to have a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism no lower than 54 inches above the floor.
The Department of Health recommends, at a minimum, using a combination of the barriers described above to help ensure your pool is equipped with approved safety features.
Who Is WaterSmartFL.com?
WaterSmartFL.com is an initiative of the Florida Department of Health that works to educate parents, caregivers, businesses, communities, and advocacy groups about drowning risks and prevention strategies. If you are ready to help, joining the WaterSmartFL campaign as a partner is free. Just make a commitment to share information about pool safety with others. You can download materials to use (including a web banner to post on your homepage that links directly to the WaterSmartFL website). Pool time can be a lot of fun but it is important to provide supervision, safety barriers, and emergency preparedness to keep children and adults safe from drowning.
Be proactive this summer. Encourage everyone in your community to practice poolside safety and help protect children from the dangers of drowning.