MINNEAPOLIS – (May 18, 2015) – As warmer weather approaches and many family vacations or weekend getaways revolve around water, Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation would like to remind Minnesotans that all drownings are preventable. Last year, there were 29 drowning deaths in Minnesota alone.

Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children ages 14 and under and can occur in open bodies of water, pools and spas. Each year, approximately 800 children die as a result of drowning nationally. May kicks off Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Month in Minnesota, which provides an ideal opportunity for media outlets to remind Minnesotans about the measures they can take to help prevent the preventable during the summer months ahead. This is particularly important as Minnesota has many accessible open bodies of water.

 

"As public pools begin opening, and as families start heading to the lakes to beat the summer heat, we would like to remind everyone of the importance of Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Month," said Scott Taylor, co-founder of Abbey's Hope. "29 drownings is 29 too many, and Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Month gives our state residents a reason to remind each other about how we can all stay safe this swim season."

Other than congenital anomalies (birth defects), drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1-4 than any other cause. During Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Awareness Month, Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation will be joining public health officials, law enforcement, emergency responders, government agencies and other non-profits to remind parents about critical safety tips that can mean the difference between life and death. 

Four steps parents can take to prevent drownings: 

Teach swimming and lifesaving skills – Make sure children know how to swim, float, tread water and get in and out of the pool safely. Take classes in First Aid and CPR.

Install Barriers - Backyard pools should be fenced on all sides with four-to-five foot high fences. Gates should be self-latching and locking. Spas and hot tubs should be covered and locked when not in use. 

Be Vigilant - Make sure an adult is watching children in the pool, spa and open bodies of water at all times.

Avoid dangerous drains – If loose, missing or broken drain covers are spotted, spa operators should be notified immediately. Tie up long hair or secure with a swim cap and warn children to stay away from drains or other openings.

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation recommends and the Taylors advocate that parents share water supervision responsibilities with other parents. Abbey's Hope created a "Water Watchdog Tag" system to clarify the role: the supervising parent or adult wears the "Water Watchdog Tag" until he or she passes the responsibility and the tag on to the next parent or adult. (To receive a Water Watchdog Tag, go to abbeyshope.org and sign the pledge to protect children.) The adult wearing the tag pledges:

  • To maintain constant visual contact with the children in the designated groups (even if a lifeguard is present). 
  • Not to drink alcohol, talk on the phone, socialize or read while watching children.
  • To keep a phone near the water for emergency purposes.
  • Remain by the water until relieved by a new Water Watchdog.

About Abbey’s Hope:

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn., 6-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained from 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://abbeyshope.org

The Dragonfly Story

Excerpted from the eulogy at Abbey Taylor's Celebration of Life Service

Below the surface of a quiet pond lived a colony of water bugs. They were happy, living far from the sun. But they noticed that occasionally, a member of their colony would climb up a lily stalk and disappear from sight, never to return. Where do you suppose she went? wondered a water bug.

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Pool Safety Tips

  • Use the Water Watchdog System to make sure children are always closely supervised in the pool area.

  • Remind kids to stay away from pool and hot tub drains.

  • Never dive into water less than 9 feet deep.

  • Keep gates to the pool area latched.


More water safety tips