After son's drowning, Safety Harbor mom says stricter backyard pool safety laws are needed

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A mom is trying to change state law to make residential pools safer.

Kacen Howard, 2, drowned in a family friend's backyard pool in September 2017. His mother, Brittany Howard, was running errands with a friend when she got the devastating call.

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

Howard says Kacen opened a heavy sliding glass door, bypassed a defective pool fence, and then got into the pool.

Her grief has been overwhelming, but Howard is trying to shift the pain to advance a cause she hopes will save others from the nightmare she and her family are enduring.

Together, with Florida Senator Ed Hooper (R-District 16), a pool safety bill was filed February 5, 2019.

Under the current law, implemented in 2000, pools only need to meet one safety requirement. This bill seeks to bump that up to two.

Pools would have to have two of the following safety measures: A fence, a pool alarm, a door alarm, a pool cover, and/or a door that has a self-closing or self-latching device.

"The first question we get asked a lot is 'How much is this going to cost,'" said April Phillips, one of Howard's close friends who is helping with the bill.

"The cost is so minimal -- $100, $150," she said, referring to door alarms and other safety measures.

Whatever the amount, Howard said it's an investment worth every penny.

"Getting this law passed, I want to see that happen to save more children," Howard said.

The bill is being reviewed by a Florida Senate committee. It can be viewed at