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Florida Drowning Deaths Up 70% A HomeOwners Rental Property Pool Safety Guide

According to ABC Action News, drowning deaths are up 70% when compared to this same time last year. YES, you read that sentence correctly.

Did you know that Florida leads the nation in child deaths related to drowning? As a Florida resident and a mother, it continues to amaze me that the leading cause of death among children under five years old is drowning - more than any other state in our country!

Being in the rental industry I’ve come to learn that residential pools DO NOT have the same safety standards and regulations that one would think. Both commercial and hotel pools adhere to more stringent guidelines. Do you see the problem here?

Tourists flock to Florida by renting through companies such as AirBnB or VRBO, who do not necessarily monitor their homeowners and their safety precautions all that closely. Many of these vacationing families choose to spend their hard-earned money by staying in a single-family home rather than a traditional hotel.

Please do not become another statistic! In the last few years, I have seen a small handful of child drownings that could have all been easily avoided by having the proper safety precautions in place.


Florida State Swimming Pool Safety Act

Any home with a private pool must meet one of the following safety standards

The pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements that are indicated below.

  • The pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover.

  • All doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that has a minimum sound pressure rating of 85 dB A at 10 feet.

  • All doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism placed no lower than 54 inches above the floor.

  • A swimming pool alarm that, when placed in a pool, sounds an alarm upon detection of an accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. Such pool alarm must meet and be independently certified to ASTM Standard F2208, titled “Standard Safety Specification for Residential Pool Alarms,” which includes surface motion, pressure, sonar, laser, and infrared alarms.


Pool Barrier Requirements (all of these criteria must be met):

  • The barrier may not have any gaps, openings, indentations, protrusions, or structural components that could allow a young child to crawl under, squeeze through, or climb over the barrier.

  • The barrier must be placed around the perimeter of the pool and must be separate from any fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless the fence, wall, or other enclosure or portion thereof is situated on the perimeter of the pool, is being used as part of the barrier, and meets the barrier requirements of this section.

  • The barrier must be placed sufficiently away from the water’s edge to prevent a young child or medically frail elderly person who may have managed to penetrate the barrier from immediately falling into the water.

Please keep in mind that these are the state requirements. Homeowners insurance companies often require additional safety measures such as:

  • Appropriate warning signage posted indicating, swim at your own risk, no diving, no lifeguard on duty.

  • Depth markers clearly posted.

  • Some type of assistive devices such as a pole or lifebuoy present.


To view this Florida Statute in its entirety, please visit Chapter 15 of the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act.

*This content is based on publicly available information from ABC Action News, the Department of Florida Legislature. Jill Hollywood makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to this content provided for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. It is suggested to check annually for any updates or modifications to the law.

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