OC lawmaker's bill looks to upgrade pool safety, prevent child drownings

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- As summer opens with a heat wave, the issue of pool safety is getting renewed attention.

An Orange County legislator is looking to make backyard pools safer for kids by updating existing requirements.

State Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, has proposed updating the state's existing Pool Safety Act, which took effect in 1997.

"This is an act over 20 years old and it is in need of updating," Newman said. "This measure will save lives and lead the nation in pool safety policy."

The biggest change in Newman's Senate Bill 442 is requiring new residential pools to have two drowning prevention devices - such as a latching gate, fence, alarm or pool cover - instead of just one.

Medical professionals and parents who lost children to drowning spoke in support of his efforts.

"We simply can't undo the damage that's been done to these children by those brief minutes of not getting enough oxygen to their bodies and particularly their brains," said Dr. James Cappon with Children's Hospital Orange County.

Julie Lopiccolo knows the pain of losing a child to drowning and wants to make sure it doesn't happen to other families. Her 21-month-old son drowned in 2014 when his babysitter brought him to a pool that didn't have sufficient safety measures, she said.

"No family should suffer like we have," she said. "No child should lose their life like these children."
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