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Florida Laws Regarding Residential Pools

August 27, 2018 | Category: Swimming Accidents | Share

NBC7 San Diego reported on June 11, 2018 that Emeline Miller, the 19-month-old daughter of Olympic skier, Bode Miller, drowned in a residential swimming pool. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive her. In an Instagram post showing several photos of the toddler, Mr. Miller said, “We are beyond devastated.” The Miller family is using donations to fund a water safety education program in Emeline’s honor to, hopefully, prevent future childhood drawings.

Florida Laws Regarding Residential Pools - Spivey LawAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year about 4,000 people drown in the United States, and drowning kills more children between 1 and 4 years of age than anything else, except birth defects.

As an example, the CDC provides the following scenario of a potential drowning incident:

Parents with two young children, 4-year old Jim and 3-year old Amy, visit friends who have an in-ground pool in their back yard. The friends' three children are already in the water, and Jim and Amy jump in and start playing with the others. The two fathers drink beer and fire up the grill. Their backs are to the nearby pool, but they occasionally glance over at the kids. The two mothers head inside the house to prepare the rest of the meal, asking the men to keep an eye on the kids. Tired of the game, Jim climbs out of the water, walks over to the pool's deeper end, and jumps in. Only Amy notices him do this, and sees that he does not come back up, but does not really understand that this is serious. After a moment, she walks over to her dad, tugs on his pants, and says softly, "Jim is under."

“Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan Beck Miller, have a powerful warning for all parents after this tragic pool accident. The Miller drowning is a tragedy, and we feel it is important to remind parents and guardians to always be vigilant around swimming pools. In addition, owners of residential pools have responsibility for insuring the safety of their swimming pools. Florida, as do other states, has laws designed to require pool owners to maintain safe swimming facilities,” said Fort Myers Child Injury Attorney, Randall Spivey.

Florida laws require those owning swimming pools, spas, or hot tubs to have at least one safety feature in place. These safety measures, outlined in the Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Pool Safety Act, include:

  • A barrier that isolates the pool from the home, which could be a fence or a wall, or a combination of both, that surrounds the pool. The barrier should prevent access to the swimming pool from the residence or from the yard. It must be at least 4 feet high.
  • A pool cover that is either manual- or power-operated and meets the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials.
  • An exit alarm equipped on all doors and windows that have direct access to the pool. Under the law, the alarm must make an audible, continuous alarm sound any time a door or window that allows direct access from the residence to the pool area is opened or left ajar.
  • A self-closing, self-latching device on all doors and gates that provide direct access to the residential pool.

“Should you or a family member be injured in a swimming pool accident, please contact our experienced legal team. We are here to assist you 24/7,” said Attorney Spivey.


Fort Myers Child Injury Lawyer, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.



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