Accidental drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four in the state of Florida. Children falling into an unsecured swimming pool is one of the most common causes of these unfortunate drownings. Swimming pools are considered an attractive nuisance—a potentially dangerous object that may entice young children to enter and cause serious injuries or death. The state has enacted several guidelines for residential pool owners to deter unauthorized entry in an effort to decrease the number of accidental drownings. Learn more about these rules and regulations for pool owners here.
Swimming Pool Safety Laws in Florida
Florida Statute 515 is referred to as the “Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act.” This act mandates that every newly constructed pool, hot tub, or spa must include one of four safety measures to deter, deny, or delay unsupervised pool entry, specifically targeted at children and elderly adults. A residential pool won’t pass its final inspection by the Florida Department of Health without one of the safety measures listed below.
Types of Approved Safety Measures
New residential pools, hot tubs, and spas must include one of the following safety measures to comply with Florida Law:
A pool should include a fence or wall (minimum of four feet high) that creates a barrier between the pool and the home. The barrier shouldn’t have gaps or openings that may allow a young child to squeeze or crawl through. Above-ground pools should include a removable structure limiting access to the pool from the ground. The types of approved barriers can be found here.
Another approved safety measure is to install an ASTM-approved power cover that completely covers the pool. This type of safety measure would work best for pools that are only used periodically.
Alarms on all doors and windows allowing direct pool access are another approved way to discourage unwanted entry. If the door or window is opened, a beeping sound will alert other occupants that someone is accessing the door or window. Additionally, pool alarms can be placed inside the pool. These alarms use motion detectors to produce a sound when there has been an unauthorized pool entry.
The last type of safety compliance measure is to attach self-closing and self-latching mechanisms on doors and gates that directly access the pool. The mechanism must be no lower than 54 inches high to prevent young children from reaching it.
Penalties for Non-Compliance
If you fail to have one of these safety measures in place for your new residential pool, you could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. The charges may be waived if you equip the pool with an approved safety device within 45 days of the citation or take an approved drowning prevention course.
Be a Responsible Pool Owner
These rules and regulations help keep vulnerable populations, like young children and elderly adults, safe. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in criminal charges, serious injuries, or even death.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a pool accident due to the homeowner’s negligence or non-compliance with pool safety rules, you could be entitled to compensation. For a free consultation to discuss your case, contact the King Law Firm at 352-269-1814.