Drowning prevention is a critical yet often overlooked issue, particularly concerning the safety of young children. In the wake of her daughter Kourtney’s tragic drowning, Kristina Andrews took a stand against this silent crisis by founding ‘Kourtney’s Kause.’ Her initiative stands as a poignant example of transforming personal loss into a force for greater awareness and education in water safety. Kristina’s journey underscores the vital need for water competency, proactive measures, and the tools and knowledge for families to protect their loved ones.
We are proud to announce our November 2023 Water Safety Champion of The Month, Kristina Andrews!
The Genesis of Kourtney’s Kause
Kristina’s journey began with a profound loss. After the drowning of her daughter, Kourtney, she faced an unsettling reality: there was only one Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) instructor in the entire Bay Area. As a mother determined to protect her six-month-old son and other children, she saw the need for accessible, affordable ISR lessons – a program that teaches infants and toddlers essential survival skills in water.
Kristina spearheaded efforts to bring ISR lessons to more families in the South Bay Area by starting Kourtney’s Kause. They focused on making these lessons not only accessible but also accommodating to various schedules, catering to both working and non-working parents. The organization expanded rapidly, now reaching over a 50-mile span, with aspirations to own an indoor space for year-round training.
However, Kristina’s vision extends beyond immediate survival skills. Kourtney’s Kause is currently developing a transition program for students who have completed survival swim lessons, aiming to bridge the gap to more advanced swimming techniques and strokes so that children can learn to acclimate to new physical attributes, weight, and buoyancy and maintain confidence in and around water.
Addressing Misinformation and Unifying the Approach
A crucial part of Kristina’s mission is addressing and correcting common misconceptions about drowning prevention. She emphasizes that ISR lessons are not about “throwing babies in water” but about gentle, gradual, and skilled instruction over a six-week course. Each ISR program is meticulously designed, differing significantly from non-certified programs that might imitate but not replicate ISR’s effectiveness and safety.
Along with addressing misinformation, the goal is to diminish the tension between different swimming methodologies. Kristina believes in a collaborative approach, where recognition from larger organizations can help break down barriers and foster a unified goal. Ideally, every child would start with survival swim lessons, with a seamless transition to more advanced techniques as they grow. Kourtney’s Kause is working to set an example for others to follow by implementing transition lessons for children who have completed their ISR course.
Actionable Advice for Parents and Caregivers
In her journey, Kristina encountered a startling gap in awareness and information regarding water safety, especially from child advocates. Despite being a diligent parent, she was unaware of the risks associated with water, as she didn’t have a pool at home. This lack of awareness is common among many parents who may not perceive water as a significant danger if it isn’t a prominent feature in their daily lives.
This oversight is something Kourtney’s Kause is striving to address. It’s a reminder that drowning doesn’t discriminate based on proximity to a pool or natural body of water. The organization’s efforts extend beyond physical swimming lessons to encompass education and advocacy, emphasizing that knowledge and awareness are crucial. This education aims to fill the void left by conventional child safety advice, ensuring that parents and caregivers are equipped with comprehensive information to safeguard their children in all environments, water included.
Thank You For Making A Difference In Water Safety!
Stories like Kristina’s, one of hope rising after profound loss, are a testament to the strength of the human spirit. They speak even more to the innate sense of responsibility to the people and world around us. It’s not just about teaching survival skills in the water but also about fostering a broader awareness of water safety and, in turn, saving lives.
Thank you for being a Water Safety Champion!
If you are making a difference in water safety and drowning prevention or know someone who is, we want to hear your story.
Please take a moment to share the story on our website for a chance to be nationally recognized as a Water Safety Champion.