K.A.C.E.N.‘S C.A.U.S.E

K.A.C.E.N.‘S C.A.U.S.E

From Brittany Howard

I am raising funds to Keep Adults and Children Educated Nationwide; Creating Awareness on Unsafe Swimming Environments by reaching out to the community through tv, billboards, email, mail, events and charities.

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(Keeping Adults and Children Educated Nationwide: Creating Awareness on Unsafe Swimming Environments)

My amazing, wild, sweet, and perfect little boy, Kacen was such a fun and energetic 2-year-old. I used to tell him he was too smart for his own good and that would get him in trouble one day. I never dreamed those silly words would turn into a nightmare that would come so quickly and so tragically. On the day before their third birthday, September 28, 2017, Kacen opened the sliding glass door, bypassed the weak defective pool fence that surrounded the pool, and fatally drowned. His twin sister was there to witness her brother's tragic final moments of life. She tried to save him by telling the adult that Kacen was in the pool. But it was too late. All possible life saving measures were performed but it just wasn't enough. He wasn't coming back. The pain of losing a child is unbearable. It is deep, it is raw, it is something not a soul can understand unless you have also lost a child. I am taking this unrelenting pain and using it towards something positive. I've created this non-profit foundation so that we can educate and make changes in pool safety laws. Let me begin with letting you in on some facts that you probably aren’t aware of, as most people aren’t. Drowning is the LEADING cause of unintentional death for children ages 1-4 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  It is the third leading cause WORLD WIDE, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The state of Florida has an exceptionally high risk of child drownings because nearly every home has a pool. You would be hard pressed to find one. Believe me, the people who owned the house that took my son from me had a hard time finding a new one without a pool. For those who do survive a drowning, about half end up with severe brain damage, resulting in a severely diminished quality of life.  According to the CDC, most child drownings happen in familiar places (65% were their home pools, while a third were in pools owned by friends or relatives.) More than half of the child drowning victims in 2017 had been out of site of an adult for only 5 minutes or less. Almost half were last seen inside the home and a quarter were seen in the yard, porch, or patio. In all, 69% of the children involved in a drowning incident were not expected to be near or in the pool, yet that is where they were found.  Drowning is a silent death. It is not like the movies, with yelling and thrashing about. It is quick, and it is silent. There is no actual splashing that would alert someone to a child (or anyone) in distress. This is the information we need to get out to the public. Most people have NO idea of these statistics and facts. Most people think it would never happen to them. Most people are wrong. It can happen to anybody. Which is why we want the Florida law changed to include stricter pool safety measures. These are our CHILDREN, the next generation, our FUTURE. We must protect them. We must instill law, guidelines, education, and awareness in the adults of today so that we can save the children who will be the adults of tomorrow. Kacen could have been anything he wanted. He could have been a firefighter, a police officer, a truck driver, construction worker, a CEO, an inventor, an entrepreneur, even the President. But he will never get the chance to follow the life path he was meant for. It was stolen from him too soon and we want to prevent that from happening to any other child. Help us change the law, help us spread knowledge and awareness, help us save a child's life. The current Florida laws regarding pool safety are outdated and inadequate. In 2000, former Governor Jeb Bush signed the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act, in honor of Preston de Ibern of Palm Harbor, who had a drowning incident at 5 years old. He survived but with severe brain damage and now has the cognitive ability of a 6 month old. This was a step in the right direction for pool safety, but it greatly falls short of protecting our children. Preston's mother was quoted saying, "If there had been a fence, it would have caught him. If there had been a latch, he would have never gotten out to begin with. He was highly intelligent. He wanted to own his own construction company when he grew up." For Kacen, the fence around the pool did not catch him. Companies can make Do-It-Yourself pool fences and sell them to the public, advertising them as safe, that it will keep you child from the dangers of a pool. It didn't keep Kacen safe. In fact, the pool fence did not even meet the requirements set forth by the pool safety laws. However, these laws only apply to NEWLY built homes and NEWLY installed pools. They do not apply to existing, older homes with pools, not to mention the homeowners that remove the safety measures themselves once their children are older. A new bill needs to be introduced to supplement the one currently in place. One of it’s biggest requirements should be to implement a separate pool safety inspection to be a requirement of buying and selling a home, so that older homes must upgrade their safety measures. DIY pool fences should not be allowed, and the home owner should have to hire a licensed pool fence technician to install the fence. Currently, the Florida law requires only ONE pool safety measure. The choices are as follows: 1) A four-foot mesh fence with an outward swinging, self-closing, self-latching gate, and the fence must be separate from any other fence, wall, or other enclosure surrounding the yard unless that enclosure is being used as part of the barrier. (The well-meaning DIY pool fence around the pool Kacen drowned in did not have this gate, just the mesh fence, and the owners were never even informed by the fence company that this was a law, or something that was even an option.) 2) All doors and windows with direct access to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm that reaches a required decibel. 3) All doors that provide access directly to the pool must have a self-closing, self-latching device with a release mechanism of a certain height. 4) A swimming pool alarm that sounds an alarm of a certain decibel upon detection of an accidental or unauthorized entrance into the water. This sounds like a great step into ensuring the safety around private home-owned pools. However, over 90% of Florida’s home swimming pools were built before the Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act took effect. This means that over 90% of the pools in Florida have the ability to NOT meet the law requirements, and that does not break any kind of law.  We want to change that. While buying or selling a home, the pool safety measures should be upgraded to the current safety measures. If buying a pool fence, it should be installed by a licensed technician. If you are unable to donate monetarily, then please SHARE and spread the knowledge you just learned to your friends and family. Everybody thinks it can't happen to them. They're wrong. Help us save our children's lives. Help us pass a new bill with stricter laws. Together we can save lives!

We are a 501(C)(3) tax exempt non-profit charity, EIN#83-1682692

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