MINNEAPOLIS, MN – (May 2, 2017) – May is Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Awareness Month, and Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation is reminding the public about critical safety tips that can mean the difference between life and death.

"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. "In 2015 there were 35 drownings in Minnesota – that’s 35 too many, 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.”

Nationwide, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under and approximately 800 children die from drowning each year.

Abbey's Hope Charitable Foundation offers the following tips to keep kids safe:

  • 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 fence. 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.

Join the Water Watchdog Program:

Nearly 90 percent of childhood drownings occur with an adult nearby.   To encourage adults to take water supervision responsibilities seriously Abbey’s Hope created the Water Watchdog Program which asks that an adult wear the "Water Watchdog Tag" until he or she passes the responsibility and the tag on to the next parent or adult. 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.

Water Watchdog Tag are available at abbeyshope.org.

10th anniversary of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act—

The purpose of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act (VGB Act), along with the MN Abigail Act, is to prevent both entrapment and eviscerations by swimming pool and spa drains and traditional forms of drowning in public swimming pools and spas.  The VGB Act is enforced by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Abbey’s Hope was instrumental in helping pass this landmark, first ever legislation.  Since the passage of this law, there has not been a single death in a public pool from entrapment.

The law has several requirements that are meant to change the way public pools and spas are built and maintained in the United States:

  1. All public pool and spa drain covers manufactured, distributed, entered into commerce or sold in the marketplace on or after December 19, 2008 must meet a federal consumer product safety standard;
  2. All public pools and spas must be equipped with a VGB compliant anti-entrapment drain cover;

The VGB Act defines the term “public pool and spa” as a swimming pool or spa that is---

  • open to the public generally, whether for a fee or free of charge;
  • open exclusively to –
    • o members of an organization and their guests;
    • o residents of a multi-unit apartment building, apartment complex or other multi-family residential area;
    • o patrons of a hotel or other public accommodations facility.


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 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/

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.

Read More

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