In Jacksonville, Florida, a drowning was reported in the Cedar Hills neighborhood. Jason Howell, age 6, drowned in a neighbor’s pool. The residential swimming pool was located behind a home across the street from Jason and his family. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Channel 4 news responded to the scene. It was reported by Elizabeth Cate with Channel 4 news that the pool was fenced but there were no locks on the fence. The Florida Department of Children and Families and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will conduct an investigation regarding the facts and circumstances of this Florida drowning death.
Florida has a high percentage of swimming pool in any given neighborhood due to the year round warm weather. Yes, swimming is a fun and relaxing recreational activity that unfortunately brings with it dangers especially to young children who do not realize the dangers and risks of swimming or being around water without proper adult supervision. The simple and expected curiosity of a child can lead to deadly consequences. The death of Jason Howell is certainly a tragic loss for his family, neighborhood, and the community.
Pursuant to Section 515.29, Florida Statutes (Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act), gates that provide access to a swimming pool must open outward away from the pool and be self closing and equipped with a self latching locking device, the release mechanism of which must be located on the pool side of the gate and so placed that it cannot be reached by a young child over the top or through any opening or gap.
The Florida Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act was passed to help prevent child drownings in the State of Florida. Unfortunately and tragically for many children and families, drownings continue to take place despite the presence of this child safety law.