Senate bill would require Florida homeowners to add safety features to swimming pools

If you're planning to install a swimming at your house in 2020, or if your house already has one and you're considering putting your home on the market, you may soon find yourself scheduling a pool remodel. 

Legislation filed at the state capitol would require homeowners in Florida to put additional safety devices in place around their swimming pools. 

Bills under consideration for the 2020 session would mandate at least two of five approved safety features be in place when new pools are built or before homes with existing pools can be sold. Currently, homeowners need just one of five safety features. These include fencing, pool covers, door alarms, gates and motion alarms. 

Senate bill sponsor Ed Hooper is a retired firefighter. He said he had to pull children out of pools and that decades later, it still bothers him. 

“I don’t want to see a mother or a father, a sister or a brother, or a neighbor have to go through the tragedy of seeing a kid drown in their pool in their backyard,” the Republican state senator from Clearwater said of the legislation.

Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths of children between one and four years old. Every year in Florida, you could fill as many as four preschool classrooms with the number of children who drown before their fifth birthday. When you take a step back and look at kids ages one to 14, Florida has the second highest drowning rate in the nation behind only Oklahoma. 

A similar measure passed two senate committees last year but was not taken up by the Florida House of Representatives. This year’s legislation has yet to be heard by a House or Senate committee, ahead of the 2020 legislative session which begins in January. 

If passed, the law would go into effect October 1, 2020.