The water safety non-profit reminds parents and caregivers to avoid distracted supervision around pools.

MINNEAPOLIS—There’s a perfect storm of circumstances conspiring against adults’ ability to keep kids safe around pools and lakes this summer. Electronic devices continue to dominate our attention. And the COVID-19 pandemic has more adults working from home and supervising their children at the same time. For those with backyard pools, this poses an especially significant danger which has been brought to life in a chilling PSA from Abbey’s Hope.

The 30-second spot, “Watch Me!” features an all-too familiar scene: a distracted mom on the phone, laptop open as her young child splashes in the water, clamoring for her attention. What happens next is summed up by a provocative message superimposed on screen: “88% of child drownings occur with an adult nearby. 100% of those adults will never forgive themselves.” The spot concludes by inviting the viewer to become a Water Watchdog, which is an active supervision program started by Abbey’s Hope. To date, nearly 10,000 people have registered to take the pledge and receive their iconic Abbey’s Hope Water Watchdog ‘dog tag,’ a tangible reminder of the need to be vigilant when supervising children around water.

“It’s sadly ironic that we often tell our kids that we’re watching them, when we’re not,” said Katey Taylor, who along with husband Scott Taylor, founded Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation in response to the tragic death of their daughter, Abbey, following a pool drain entrapment incident in 2007. Taylor added, “Vigilant supervision has never been more important or required greater discipline, given the world we live in.”

 Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children ages one to four.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 379 pool- or spa-related fatal drownings reported per year for 2015 through 2017, involving children younger than 15 years of age.  The vast majority of those deaths were to children ages 4 and under.

The PSA will launch 7/20/20 on social media and is free to use and can be accessed at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZgSYeaUqWc  It also will be broadcast on local television during the summer months when pool and lake usage is at its peak. 

About Abbey’s Hope:
Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., six-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained by an improperly maintained pool drain cover. 

The Foundation’s goal is to: 

●      Promote awareness of, and education, related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.

●      Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of product safety standards related to such products.

●      Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.  

Find out more about Abbey’s Hope at http://www.abbeyshope.org/

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Alison Petri
Program Manager
Abbey’s Hope Foundation
952.303.5421763.331.1899(cell)
alison@abbeyshope.org

Facebook Live events begin at 10 AM CDT on July 16th with resources to help parents bridge the water safety knowledge gap for kids that can’t participate in traditional swim lessons due to COVID-19.

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., July 14, 2020 – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers for the 2020 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (#WLSL2020) are reaching out virtually on July 16th to offer tips, resources, information and guided lessons that parents can do with kids at home. The online event is in addition to local lessons that are taking place at a limited number of locations.

3-time Olympic gold medalist, ESPN and NBC Sports analyst and WLSL ambassador, Rowdy Gaines, helps a young swimmer get comfortable in the water during a World's Largest Swimming Lesson event at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon.
3-time Olympic gold medalist, ESPN and NBC Sports analyst and WLSL ambassador, Rowdy Gaines, helps a young swimmer get comfortable in the water during a World’s Largest Swimming Lesson event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.
A young swimmer works on opening her eyes underwater during the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin as early as age 1. Parents can work to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills at home.
A young swimmer works on opening her eyes underwater during the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin as early as age 1. Parents can work to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills at home.

Dozens of nationally recognized water safety and training organizations support the WLSL event each year. With day camps canceled and the delayed/limited opening of pools and waterparks this summer, TEAM WLSL is sharing their expertise with families at home to help bridge the gap for kids that have not been able to participate in traditional swim lessons.

Per the World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, accounting for 7 percent of all injury-related deaths worldwide. In the U.S., drowning remains the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4, and the second leading cause for children under 14.

This year, as families head to the backyard and open water environments without the benefit of lifeguards or swim instructors, it appears drowning rates are increasing. In response, TEAM WLSL organizers are urging parents to take advantage of a wealth of free online resources to learn more about water safety and drowning prevention.

“Safety is always the first priority for our aquatics community,” said Rick Root, President, World Waterpark Association.  “And, working to help families access water safety and learn to swim resources is more important than ever in our current environment. Whether they participate at a live WLSL event in their community or join us online, we want kids to learn how to Be Water Aware and parents to understand the crucial importance of learning to swim as a key layer of protection for drowning prevention.”

About The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™
TEAM WLSL® was created by the World Waterpark Association as a platform for the aquatics industry to build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim to help prevent drowning. WLSL events have provided more than 159,000 hours of water safety training around the globe. Since its inception in 2010, more than 319,000 children and adults at 4,548 locations in 48 countries have participated in local WLSL lessons and the Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ message has been shared more than two billion times. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsYmk9iN1zI

Contact: 
Aleatha Ezra
243433@email4pr.com
Phone: 913-599-0300

SOURCE World Waterpark Association

Lakes, beaches and rivers are popular destinations for families during the summer season. It’s the best way to have some fun family time and remain cool as soon as temperatures rise but it’s not without risk.

Most children in the U.S. drown in open water which includes natural bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and oceans as well as man-made bodies of water like canals, reservoirs, and retention ponds. In 2016, open water drownings made up 43 percent of fatal childhood drownings.*

Beaches are a favorite destination during the summer months

The first thing needed to prevent drowning incidents when in open water is learning how to swim which has proven to be a lifesaving skill that can reduce the chances of drowning by 88%. Following the tips below will also ensure you have the most amount of fun by reducing the risks and hazards that come with open water.

1.- Swim in a designated swimming area
Most state parks, beaches, and lakefront areas have designated times where swimming is allowed and use flags to indicate borders in which people can swim. Never swim outside those defined areas. Also, preferably swim under the supervision of a qualified lifeguard.

2.- When in doubt, get out
Don’t hesitate to get out of the water if something doesn’t feel right. Whether it’s that the current is getting rough, rain has started to fall or your body is just not responding like you would like it to due to fatigue or muscle cramps, then just leave and return to the water another day. It’s always a good thing to trust your instincts.

3.- Know the conditions
Check the water temperature and weather conditions before hitting the water. If the water temperature is low, your best option would be to swim with a wetsuit and don’t stay too long in the water. Bear in mind it’s not safe to swim in the rain, particularly if there is thunder and lightning. If the weather changes, don’t hesitate to swim back shore.

4.- Never Swim Alone
When you head out into the open water, go with a “swim buddy”, someone who’s looking out for you and who you’re looking out for in turn. Remember the lifeguard isn’t your “swim buddy”; they have lots of people to track when on duty and cannot be concerned with a particular person’s safety. Besides, you’ll probably have more fun swimming with a friend.

5.- Choose the right equipment
It’s very important to always choose the right equipment for your open water activity: wetsuits if the water is cold, goggles if swimming, and so on. Please note that if water temperatures are over 75-80 degrees, a wetsuit might not be a good idea. Using one for extended periods could cause heat exhaustion.

6.- Understand currents
Uncontrollables are all part of experiencing the ocean and open bodies of water. Rip tides, other currents and waves can all sweep you away from your swimming route. By choosing a static “beacon” on your boat or at the shore you’ll be able to determine if you are being swept away or not. If you do get caught in a riptide, don’t panic. Try to remain calm and swim parallel to shore to get out of it. If you try to swim against the current, you might get exhausted and really panic even more.

7.- No Alcohol
Alcohol affects your perception of danger, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks. Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination – all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. So don’t drink while in the water.

8.- Wear USCG-approved life vest
Young children, weak swimmers and everybody in general should wear life jackets whenever they are in, on or around the water, even at a pool or a waterpark. It should be put on at the dock, deck or shore and not taken off until you return to dry land.

9.- Have A Plan For Emergencies
Always have a plan to handle and face emergencies whenever you go out to the water with a swim buddy or alone. Tell someone else where you are going. Having someone watching from the shore, ready to take action should you need any help, is a wise decision. Plan for every possible incident and eliminate as much uncertainty as possible.

10.- Swim parallel to the shore
If ever caught in a rip current, don’t let fear cloud your judgement. You could be swept away from shore very quickly. The best way to escape a rip current is by swimming parallel to the shore instead of towards it, since most rip currents are an average of 100 feet wide. Try to relax and breathe keeping your head above water, and don’t wear yourself out by trying to get out of the rip by swimming against the force of the current.

*Source: Hidden Hazards: An Exploration of Open Water Drowning and Risks for Children. Safe Kids Worldwide. May 2018.