It’s time for another episode of Child Safety Source. Today, we’re sitting down with Bobby Hazen. During each of our episodes, Life Saver Pool Fence’s president, Eric Lupton, sits down with a person who works to keep children safe. More often than not, these individuals advocate for water safety! Bobby Hazen definitely fits this category.
Besides working with Saf-T-Swim Schools, Hazen is also the founder of End Drowning Now. He works tirelessly to educate and protect children from the dangers of unexpected drowning hazards.
To learn more about Bobby Hazen, watch our full video interview. You’ll learn all about his efforts and the missions of these organizations. His is truly an inspiring story.
Child Safety Source Interview with Bobby Hazen and Saf-T-Swim
Bobby touched on Saf-T-Swim in his interview, but here’s a bit more information: Saf-T-Swim is a Long Island-based Water Safety Swim School. It offers classes all year long. As you can guess, these dedicated instructors don’t stop swimming, even when the temperature dips. Saf-T-Swim classes are committed to teaching people how to love and respect the water. What’s more, age is not a factor when it comes Saf-T Swim’s swimming lessons. Its services offer unique and fun programs for all people, from infants to adults. At Saf-T-Swim, the instructors are dedicated to providing every student with a safe, attentive and fun environment in which to learn lifelong swimming skills.
To learn more, visit the official website.
As we mentioned above, Bobby Hazen is also the founder of End Drowning Now. This organization aims to teach people of all ages the value of water and swimming safety. Take a look at its official website for more information: www.enddrowningnow.org.
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Below is a direct transcript of the Child Safety Source interview with Bobby Hazen from October 2nd, 2018:
Episode 46 – Bobby Hazen
Eric Lupton: We are live on the Internet; it’s like magic.
Bobby Hazen: That’s fantastic.
Eric: How you doing Bobby?
Bobby: Good, yourself, how you been Eric? How’s it going? All right?
Eric: Fantastic, feeling really good. It’s good. Have we actually met before?
Bobby: We have, yeah. I’ve been an ** a couple the NBK and NBA **conferences and I’ve seen you there.
Eric: That’s it. I figured so, but uh, as I’ve said previously, all you walking people look the same, it’s hard to tell you apart… so it’s hard to remember who I’ve met and I haven’t, you know, and I stand out, so it’s easy to spot me, you know.
Bobby: Yeah, that’s alright. You and your partner are great. So, you guys are doing good work
Eric: Thank you, we try you know. So, you’ve been at this a long time.
Bobby: Yes, we have.
Eric: You know, I think if I’m correct in this, End Drowning Now started in 2010, is that right?
That is correct, yeah.
Eric: So, what makes you decide to do that?
Bobby: Well, like I said, I’m with Safety-Swim Swim Schools, been with them since over 20 years now, and now I just wanted a different way to** or, you know, being able to pick up a flyer at the local fire department or something like that. It wasn’t really a good way to communicate this information to people. So, that’s really what drove me to do it…That’s it.
Eric: And you guys are moving it up in New York, right?
Bobby: Yeah, Long Island.
Eric: Long Island, and do you focus on… because there’s not really a lot of water safety stuff going in Long Island.
Bobby: Well yeah, no we’re predominantly. They’re probably the top of the dog with definitely on top of dog in the swim school industry, and then this program has really taken off especially with our partnership with Rees Specht Life and the new “Respectful Water” campaign. And, you know, I don’t know if you saw in the information I sent you, but we’ve educated over 75,000 schoolchildren and given out 150,000 of our booklets that you see online.
Eric: That’s really cool. I talked to Rich, he was actually sitting where you’re sitting as far as water is concerned. He was fantastic. You know, the story obviously that he, you know, talked about how he kind of avoided water safety and, you know, then got into it later on and, you know, parted up with you and almost entirely because you had a sign behind you that said ‘Respect…’ you know, and I kind of saw that as a sign. And, yeah, I really, really enjoyed talking to him.
Bobby: Yeah, we met at actually an award ceremony for one of the local organizations here, and he and I were introduced to each other and he kind of asked me why do I do what I do, thinking that I may have had a tragedy myself. And, I said no, I just… I’m sick and tired of hearing it every year. And there, you know, I wanted to try to put a stop to it and then educate people and give them the information that they needed and the layers of protection. And, he was sitting in my office one day and Safety-Swim motto is, ‘Where children learn to love and respect the water,’ and there you go. So, it just was natural, natural, you know, partnership.
Eric: And so, from then has that changed how you guys approach your water safety education?
Bobby: Uh, it’s only changed because obviously, we have a direct connection to him and his family and the tragedy that happened to him. So, I really take that to heart. I mean, I actually teach his younger … his new daughter… his younger daughter, you know, is in lessons now and she’s doing fantastic. So, I haven’t obviously, a personal connection with him and his family because of that. But, Safety-Swim as a whole and End Drowning Now, now is just really, really committed to making a difference, not only in a Long Island but in the entire northeast. And, hopefully the entire country that we can help get this word out and partner with other great organizations that are out there, like yourselves, and get this message delivered, you know, uniformly. And, that’s the problem. I think we don’t have a good way of delivering a uniform message to everybody and that being the same message, we want to save lives.
Eric: There does kind of seem to be a scattered message right.
Eric: And, you know, I think there’s been some improvement on that, the NDPA is helped a little bit up with that. I know the entire purpose of water safety USA, which is an organization that was started a few years ago and they kind of seems to be… they surfaced about once a year and their whole agenda is to come out with one water safety message that they’re gonna push for the year through all their respective organizations. And, they’re the, you know… CPSC, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America Parks and Rec, you know. They pick what their water safety message is gonna be for that year. And so, that… they’re all on the same, you know, same message essentially. And, you know, that’s the entire purpose that realization is to beautify messaging, but it still seems that we, you know, have a lot of, you know, a lot of splinters and the organizations… yeah, I think that, you know, everybody wants to take a piece and I understand that part of it from a business standpoint, but when the message is really that we want to make a ,you know, difference, a huge difference and the amount of drownings that are happening of urine and incidents that are happening every year then, I think it’s got to be a little bit more of a uniform message together for the same purpose. That’s my goal; and that’s what I think that we can all… we all can accomplish.
Eric: What would you like to see the unified message be?
Bobby: I think obviously, there’s got to be a lot of education out there so that parents understand, and caregivers understand that there are layers of protection, that border can be dangerous. It’s a lot of fun but it’s absolutely dangerous. There has to be respect for it and there’s a lot of layers of protection that go into being able to keep a child at bay. And, obviously, one of the most important is learning how to swim, you know. We live on Long Island, we’re surrounded by water and that’s what we obviously hope, that every parent, and every adult for that matter, learns how to swim. So, we try to really educate the parents and the people in the area the importance of starting at a younger age. And, we’ll go into that in a few minutes, but I think it’s important that all the parents understand how dangerous it can be and what they can do to have a layer of protection. So, if one thing fails, and you can’t watch a child for a second, they get away from you, that there’s an alarm, there’s the safety fencing. Like, you guys do… there’s these self-closing self-latching gates. There’s the door alarms and the window alarms. There’s something else that can stop that child from getting to the pool or to that body of water.
Eric: Yeah, we’ve been preaching these layers of protections since 1987 where we coined the term in a book we put out called Summertime Fun Year-Round Danger, you know. Using Layers of Protection to protect your pool, and you know, I think that’s the way to go.
Bobby: Yeah, absolutely. And not just for a pool, obviously, you know, you listen to what Rich said, you know, was his backyard pond. It could be the ocean, it could be while you’re on vacation, it could be at a lake or a river. I mean, there’s layers of protection around every wall anybody to water that**
Eric: 100%. So, what made you decide to get involved with Safety-Swim in the first place? I mean, was that your background? Were you in aquatics? You know, how did you start teaching swim lessons?
Bobby: No, actually I used to, and being in the gym business believe it or not, and my uncle was the founder of Safety Swim back in 1984 and had the opportunity to start working for him in 89. And, I love my love kids, I love the, you know, the challenge of working with a child and trying to get them from possibly crying in the beginning to loving you in a matter of a couple of weeks. And then having them run to you and see the results; I mean, we teach over 15,000 kids a week, you know, and, you know, these kids our range anywhere from two three months old all the way up to 10, 11 years old, and to see a child that’s 2 ½ and 3 years old, 1 year old swimming and being able to save themselves. Just… to me is, is what we need to do with all of the children across the country so that these drownings aren’t happening. When they’re, for one, aren’t happening, when they’re 3, 4 and 5, like you do see, you know, pretty normally across the country.
Eric: So, you guys are giving out fifteen thousand school lessons a week?
Bobby: We’re doing between ten and fifteen thousand lessons a week depending on what time of the year it is and the locations.
Eric: Wow, how do you even… I mean that’s mind blowing, how do you even manage that?
Bobby: Well, we have 13 locations so that certainly helps, and then we just …we do one-on-one lessons predominantly and really gives us the opportunity to really work at the child space and work with them individually so that they can learn, you know, at their pace. And, they can learn at there, you know, what they need to work on. So, like if we have a child that’s crying, but it’s really able to do things, we’re gonna be able to work around that and figure out a way to make it work for them, you know. And that’s what I think differentiates us from a lot of those from schools across the country.
Eric: Yeah, I mean I don’t know if there’s a swim… I mean, I’m sure you would know. I mean, is there another swim school that size?
Bobby: No. We’re probably one of the bigger ones across the country. There were very, very… a lot of excellent swim schools across the country in different states and have similar programs, but a lot of them do groups. We just found that our niche really worked with us to be able to do the one-on-one and allows us the opportunity to work with that child’s pace and really develop that relationship with them that they then can trust us, but also then trust themselves and that’s really the most important thing. And then, when you look at trying to stop a drowning, it’s really trying to get somebody to be instinctively reactive to the water and not panic. That’s what we want them to do; we want to… we don’t want a child and we want an adult not to panic. Once they panic, they’re in big trouble; that’s when they’re gonna get water in their stomach and water in their lungs, and they generally can’t make a sound drowning. Isn’t like you see on TV or in the movies; it’s silent. So, we can get it… we can get a child or an adult to react in a positive way and not panic when they first fall in the water and actually try to come up and get to the side of the pool or float on their back and get themselves in a potential rescue situation. It’s a much better, you know, it’s a much better outcome.
Eric: You know. Um, I really believe that the one-on-one lessons are where it’s at. I think it’s really impressive that you’ve found a way to do one-on-one lessons at a scaled like that. You’d think you have to kind of either have to teach a lot of kids or where we have to teach one-on-one but it’s neat that you found a way to do both.
Bobby: Yeah, we have, and we don’t …don’t get me wrong, we still do a really great group program. A baby-and-me program where we have the moms come in and introduce them into the water and have that skin-to-skin, you know, that bonding experience and let them to, you know, really develop that relationship and bond with their child. But then, the natural progression is to … is one-on-one and we start as young as two months old, you know. Various other swim schools in the United States Homeschool Association recommend six months old, you know. So, it’s really up to the individual parent to make their own decision after they’ve, you know, educated themselves.
Eric: So, what kinds of things are you doing at two months old?
Bobby: It’s really just kind of a, you know, working with their instincts. I mean, babies are very comfortable in the water because they’re in the womb for nine months which is liquid. So, you’re taking advantage of the natural instincts from being in the water for nine months, and they have these natural instincts that they generally will keep until around nine or ten months old. And, if you can capture those natural instincts before that period of time, you don’t have to retrain them. It’s a very, very natural process from them to learn it, makes that process of learning how to swim, you know, so much easier too. I mean, you’re gonna have kids that are gonna be a little swimming and being able to do a lot of things by the time they’re one-and-a-half to two and a half years old.
Eric: Yeah, I know that, you know, babies do lose the, you know, hold your breath, you know, instinct at a certain needs, I figure, I think about 9 or 10 month-old but you know, can you capture that before it phases out and keep it going?
Bobby: Yes absolutely, I mean they have a tremendous amount of reflexes and they have a gag reflex. They are unable to take water into their lung, it’s up to a certain age, they have a righting reflex, a diving reflex, a moral reflex. And, I don’t want to get into all the scientific stuff of it, but it’s, you know, you’re taking advantage of that natural instincts that they have from being in the womb which is liquid and you’re using that to your advantage to get them to be comfortable in the water and eventually learning how to swim.
Eric: So, at what point… what age do they start doing the kind of survival skill tech training?
Bobby: Well, and in our case, obviously, it’s different for every single child because each child is different, you know. And, that’s what allows us the opportunity to develop that bond and find out what they’re good at or what they need help with, or what they’re not comfortable with, and then kind of develop our lesson plan around that. But, you know, it… you know, I have a little girl today that I was teaching, and she’s, you know, just turning 2… I think she’s 2 years and 7 months. I mean, I could… she can go in the middle of pool, she can do freestyle, she could do backstrokes, do elementary backstroke, and she’s able to save herself. So, I mean that’s hopefully the outcome with all children.
Eric: That’s pretty cool. I’m surprised at how water safety savvy Long Island is, you know. You have a massive swim school there, you know, we probably installed more pool fences on Long Island in the summer than anywhere else in the country. It is our most popular area to sell and install pool fences by far. So, you know, between the number of pool fences we are putting in between, you know, the number of lessons you guys are giving out, it’s kind of surprising that an area like Long Island which you wouldn’t think of as, you know, a water mecca of the country, you know. I don’t think swimming pool when I think Long Island, you know, it’s now Florida or California, you know. You guys are really up on your water safety. Is that what that is?
Bobby: Well, I think there’s been a good, you know, turn around and the media and coverage and people like myself and Rich and the swim school industry; and even the…you know, we have a partner up here with pool guard. And, I know that’s a competitor of yours, but, you know, we have nice partnerships with the local aquarium; the Adventureland, water parks…the water park and Adventureland park and we try to just… it’s about education and where we live we do live on an island so we are surrounded by water and kids love to swim. So, parents are installing a lot of pools and, you know, so we’re trying to do the best that we can to get the message out there. And, that’s why I developed End Drowning Now was, I wanted to deliver a message that’s going to keep children safer around water by partnering with Safer Three and various other organizations across the country when I did this, so that we can we can save lives. I mean, that’s the obviously part of it.
Eric: You know, what you guys should do is, you should partner with a pool fence company but that’s a lot of like outreach and educational stuff. Maybe one that has a podcast. I don’t know, that’s what I do.
Bobby: I’m open to everything and anything and you know that Eric. So, we’ll look… we’ll continue to talk. I mean, the more people we have trying to do this together, once again, that’s the… the outcome is we do it together, all of us, then we’re gonna save. So, that’s the outcome, that’s what we want.
Eric: Yeah, pool fence never **their podcast, that’s what I’m saying
Bobby: Well, we love him anyway.
Eric: No, they’re great. Mike over there is awesome. I talked to him a few weeks ago, he’s a good guy. Um, so you know, you just said something that I lost in my… I forgot about. But… so, you know, when you talk about, you know, the different ways we can get the messaging out there, you know, what are some things you think we could be doing better than we’re not doing?
Bobby: I think it’s gotta be a unifying message once again, and we talked about that a little bit before. And, I think that if we could get a couple more organizations involved, and we’re trying to… to talk about the importance of the same things, you know, swim lessons being important, the layers of protection that you guys obviously have been a big proponents of and just always delivering the same message uniformly across the country so that everybody is getting the same information and educating themselves. And, that’s being, you know, advertised, and it’s being broadcast on you’re getting uh, you know, PSA is out there. And, that kind of stuff, I think, it’s gonna make a huge difference. I mean, think about it; think of… we were able to have that kind of results that car seats have, you know, for children. I mean, that’s what we need, is something big like that, that it’s gonna make such a difference that, you know, we’re gonna be aware to stop the drowning.
Eric: Yeah, I talked about car seats all the time, because everyone knows you have a baby, you have to have a car seat before you’re even allowed to leave the hospital, right. And as you and I know, your child is 14 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than a car accident, and you know, we’re so correctly, you know, making sure that car seat, you know, the car seat situation is taken care of. But we don’t put nearly as much emphasis on making sure if they have a pool at home that they have pool safety precautions in place as well.
Bobby: Yeah absolutely
Eric: The logic is backwards.
Bobby: Yeah, it is a backwards a little bit, and you know, and some people don’t like to take the extra precautions because it’s more expensive or cost a little bit more money, but when you’re taking the responsibility of putting a pool in your backyard, you have to take the extra steps to make it as safe as you possibly can. And, you know, and then that involves all their layers protections that are gonna cost money, you know. If you my pool upstairs is just a semi in ground pool but I put a pool fence around, and I have self-closing gate activated, they have alarms, that I need to do that by code. No, but I did it because that’s what I do, you know. I mean, and you know, I can’t lead by example then. Then how are we gonna make a difference if we’re not all doing this together.
Eric: You know. I heard someone told me recently an idea and I liked it a lot where they suggested that during that first bath the baby gets in the hospital, which is kind of the first time they’re submerged in water, other that the womb, that would be a perfect time for the nurse to give the water safety spiel, you know, maybe watch a video like Rich just recommended, you know, some kind of, you know, water safety info during that for his bath. You know, that way it’s kind of ingrained in the process of this is water, and you know, this is things you should be worried about with the water. Well, there you go; that’s all part of the educational process right. So, I mean, if we were able to come up with some kind of a program that the hospitals and the pediatricians would, you know, would buy into and would agree to. We could do that. I mean, imagine every parent gets a welcome pack, a little packet that they take home from the hospital, right. Could you imagine if we could do a water safety packet that involves swim lessons layer of protections; Fencing all that stuff? And, they were able to take that information home, a huge difference, huge definitely.
And, it just seems like there’s these things that seem pretty obvious that aren’t happening. And, I’ve been talking about this; I feel like three times a week every time we do the podcast, but Kerry Morrison would live like Jake just did a survey and it was, you know, and ** again respondents from all over the country, and, you know, they said that they hadn’t… 85% of people had not been briefed by their pediatrician on water safety which means on the other side, 15%, you know, which I thought it would be bad. I thought that, you know, there would be a low number of people who are warned about pool safety or water safety from their pediatrician, but only 15%, you know, only 15 people out of a hundred are being told by their pediatrician about, you know, swim lessons, pool fencing etc. I mean, that seems that’s amazing you know, for the number one killer or accidental killer of kids between one and four. I mean, that’s really remarkable.
Bobby: It is, it is. And, it’s sad that it’s actually that, that you know, that kind of that statistic. But, you know, the American Academy of Pediatrics is trying to come out with the new information. They’re trying to do that but, you know, the doctors and the pediatricians are a little reluctant on occasions to do what they think is the best thing. And so, parents are kind of misinformed that hey, maybe I should start lessons that when I’m… I shouldn’t start unless it’s one, two, three or four because a lot of our pediatricians aren’t saying anything or don’t recommend it until they’re three. I mean, dates to say five, right.
Eric: Now, yeah, AAP used recommend five years old and I remember when we came out with our first pool safety guide, we addressed that we said, you know, the most doctors will tell you five years old, but most kids drown before they reach five years old. So, you know, use some common sense and, you know, make your own choice kind of thing.
Bobby: You know, the American Academy of Pediatrics did change their statement back in 2010 and it’s gotten a lot better since. I’m hoping that there’ll be an update to that statement as well, and you know, the science behind it’s proving otherwise so that’s really good. And, like I said, there has been a big push to getting more information out there, more education out there. The media is responding a little bit better obviously, we had that big issue with the Bode Miller child a couple of months ago; that’s the kind of stuff that you know we need to get that information out to more people. And, I think that, you know, it’s at least headed in the right direction, so let’s hope that continues.
Eric: You know, I really don’t like the jab and the American Academy… not the American Academy, the Pediatrics Journal book guide where it says, you know, while you know children rolling over on floating makes for compelling videos on the Internet. No, there isn’t any scientific data that you can teach a kid under, you know, one years old to save themselves and, you know, because I mean, that’s literally directly attacking what you know so many of us are doing.
Bobby: Once again, it’s just not having the proper science and the proper information behind them to be able to make that decision in a big organization like that has to have stats; they have to have proper statistics; they have to have the information to be able to put that out there. So, I think they’re just being cautious for that reason, you know, so that’s where we have to come in now. We have to do the education and hopefully inform parents at our neuronal age, let them make their own self decision, make their own inform themselves so they can make a really good decision. What’s best for their child that’s their family and that’s only going to happen through education?
Eric: So, you mentioned Safer-3. So, Johnny Johnson and Safety Three. That’s stop Drowning Now right?
Eric: And you guys are End Drowning Now
Bobby: Yeah. I started mine and then they kind of game it but it wasn’t… it was just kind of my accent the way it happened but** I mean, it shows almost a little parody and we like hey, maybe you know there is something starting to happen where we’re trying to all get the same message. I mean, Johnny and Cindy and the Stop Drowning Now program is fantastic. We used the Safer 3 characters in our school shows up until this coming year when we’re gonna change things a little bit with the Respect the Water campaign, you know, up here on Long Island. But that was the reason I did ask and to partner with them is because, their message is fantastic, you know, safer water, safer people and safer response. I mean, that’s really what this is all about, so yeah.
Eric: It’s just another way of kind of framing the layers of protection idea right. And, I like the categorization. We have all three of those; we always have water, we always have people or we call them kids cuz everybody has kid and you always have a response, you know, whether it’s CPR or rescue or whatever it might be, you know, it’s a neat way of looking at it and the characters are great, the book is good you know, the educational material is really well done. I’ve known Johnny a long time he’s a good guy. And, they did great work and I was excited to see, you know, how popular their program became that he kind of seemed to spread pretty well…
Bobby: Well, we were hoping to be a big part of that because like I said, our …we did our elementary school show out here with those characters. And so, seventy-five thousand kids on Long Island and a hundred fifty thousand parents got booklets with that information in it, you know, and that’s what we were hoping to do is, and it has had that message be sent down there about that about…we partnered with Stu Leonard’s children’s book and we’ve partnered with various other organizations across the country and helping deliver those messages as that foundation has a good book. I mean, we try to do as much as we can getting involved with other people so that we can help pass that same message.
Eric: Again, you know, the numbers you’re talking about is so staggering, you know. You say them and then you step back and think about those 75,000 kids getting taught water safety education or 15,000 lessons being taught a week, you know. So, how can you… I mean, you’ve got a really good job of, you know, taking this and bringing the scale which I think is, you know, doesn’t happen often, right. We always wonder who the, you know, the mothers against drunk driving of water safety, who’ll be your who’s gonna be the, you know, the Salvation Army of water safety, and you’ve got, you know, you’ve got the NDPA, you know, who is very good in their niche, right. It’s a copy another conference is great and they’re all about being the umbrella organization to bring other organizations together. But, they’re, you know, in their mission statement they say they don’t produce any educational materials, they don’t do any outreach on their own; that’s not part of their deal. They’re just about pushing other people’s messages. We’ve got water safety USA but that’s different, you know. You’ve done a really good job at bringing this to scale, how you… had any plans to kind of take the scale that you built up on New York and spread it on kind of a national basis.
Bobby: Yeah, exactly. That’s what our hope is. I mean, Safety’s from partnering with End Drowning Now, and now partnering with Rees Specht life, we’ve developed this program called Respect the Water, and our hope is to get this out there and have it take off, you know, so that it becomes not only Long Island and the New York area but the Northeast and then and hopefully maybe even across the country. But, you know, I’m in the United States Swim School Associations doing great work, you know. Like I said, we’ve partnered with many organizations just here locally; I partnered with the Northeast spa pool association, a Long Island pool and spa Association. They’ve been huge help, they were a big part of us helping with our shows and getting that information out there and, you know, that’s the kind of things that we need to do is have these local partnerships as well as these national partnerships so that we can get the messages out there.
Eric: Yeah, I agree completely, you know, and I think like you keep saying this unified message is gonna be a big part of that and, you know, hopefully I think it would be good for water safety for whether it’s, you know, End Drowning Now or whoever it is, you know, to be kind of whether it’s Bodhi Miller’s foundation or, you know, whatever it is, you know, to have to have one kind of national large organization that’s, you know, scaled out and you know, it treats it like a business and, you know, does it the right way to really get the word out. I think that’s kind of what its gonna take, it is, you know… and obviously, there’s funding and politics that are gonna be involved with all of that kind of thing, you know, that’s the stuff that kind of aggravates me sometimes. But, you know, that’s the reality of it. But, it’s you know, so that’s know. But once again, the more people that start talking about it the more people that we can start getting conversation going and start to see results and maybe the statistics start to change, you know, and the CPSC comes out with their reports and, you know, a USA Swimming comes out with the reports, we’ll be able to, you know, start seeing a difference. And they, you know, now we have some scientific information behind us to say, hey listen, kids swimming at a younger age is making a difference, kids getting educated at a younger age is making a difference, kids and parents that are learning more it’s making a difference, that’s what we need.
Eric: How do you think we can collect that data, you know, what kind of metrics do you think we should be recording to find out that information?
Bobby: I mean, obviously, especially when it comes to that, the drought statistics, you know, you don’t know how many kids have been saved right; you’re never gonna know that number.
Eric: You say that happens all the time, right.
Bobby: Yeah, I mean there’s no way of knowing that number, you know, whether was because they’ve gotten swimming lessons or because of the layers protector of pool fence, you know, lifeguards, you know. You never know who’s been safe, so all we can really go by and the only statistics that we can legitimately look at or are the drowning statistics. And, a problem with those is that they’re not changing the kind of stand status and, like you said, before it’s still done that one of the leading causes of death for children 1 to 4, we got to change that number and that’s the only way that’s gonna really… that’s the number that if that starts to change for the positive then that people are gonna start seeing and listening.
Eric: In fact, since I’ve been doing this, the ranking went up, you know, it used to be the number 2 national cause for kids 1 to 4 and now it’s number 1.
Bobby: It bounces around a little bit, but I mean, it has a lot to do with the population and obviously, it’s more apparent now. So, it’s more out there, it’s more in the media coverage so and I think they changed… the recently have change the coding at the hospitals too, so that it used to be a fixation if the kid died on scene and then died at the hospital, I think they’ve since tried to change that too, so you may notice a change in that because of that well.
Eric: And, a lot of drowning fatalities still aren’t being recorded because, you know, if it’s a non-fatal drowning at first and then a few months goes by and then a child dies of complications, you know.
Bobby: Yeah, that’s the kind of things I was talking about that doesn’t, you know, those are the numbers you’re not seeing.
Eric: It’s gonna be a lung issue or even if it happens 10 years later, you know, then it’s some kind of respiratory issue or neurological you know. Those deaths aren’t recorded, and they are…I think, in the U.S. are definitely lower than they should be but internationally they’re much, much lower than we think. Yeah, they just don’t do a good job in you know, Nicaragua or Somalia of recording drowning deaths.
Bobby: No, they don’t. No, they… no, I mean but, you know… and once again, you know, right now we have to focus on the United States of America because obviously it’s a major problem here, and we got to make a difference. So, we got to figure out the best way to do that.
Eric: Absolutely, so what do you guys have coming up in the near future that you want to let people know about?
Bobby: Well, obviously they could visit the website, it’s enddrowningnow.org, they can actually download a PDF of our booklet. We’re constantly posting stuff on Facebook and updates there but we do have a water safety gala that we’re doing on water safety, the event on Friday October 26th at the local aquarium out here in Riverhead and we’re trying to raise funds for the Respect the Water campaign and, you know, and then utilize that money for the information and the production of the school shows that we’re going to be doing this coming school year.
Eric: We’ll make sure we attend that, you know, my guys will have to go to that, they don’t have a choice now.
Bobby: Well, that’s great. Yeah, you guys can pick a table, be a sponsor, whatever so that’s gonna happen. I’ll send you the link if you’d like.
Eric: I think you might have sent me the PDF…
Bobby: I think I did
Eric: Yeah, I’ll refer that to them and he’s not doing that. So, he’ll thank me for that, that’s great… and so you got the website, obviously you guys are all over Facebook, Instagram the whole thing right
Bobby: Yep absolutely.
Eric: Perfect, anything else do you want to let people know about before we wrap this up?
Bobby: No, just… I mean, this is a very important weekend. Obviously, the last unofficial weekend of the summer, be vigilant, be prepared, watch your children, keep them in front of you at all times. I have all the water watcher tags up on my pool fence up there, you know, assigned somebody if you’re having a party or you’re at a party, assign somebody 15 minutes at a time, you know, so that there’s somebody responsible watching the water and is not distracted at all or not on the phone, not drinking, they’re not on a computer, that I’m talking to somebody they take 10 or 15 minutes, they watch the water, keep the kids safe and then somebody else takes that spot and it just stays that way if you can’t hire a lifeguard obviously. And just to make sure if they’re, you know around water this weekend to stay safer, and make sure that they’re prepared, that’s all.
Eric: Yeah, I mean it’s a bad it’s a bad weekend for drowning unfortunately, so hopefully maybe this gets out there and you can save a couple people.
Bobby: That’s what we’re hoping for. That said that was… that’s why I’m glad you picked this day I thought it was really important. And always swim near a lifeguard. Obviously, on Long Island we hear about this stuff all the time, adults and teenagers included, swim near a lifeguard don’t mess around with the ocean it’s a whole different animal.
Eric: 100%, well thank you so much Bobbi, I really appreciate it
Bobby: Eric, thank you so much for the work that you’re doing, we really appreciate it as well.
Eric: Alright, have a good one everybody. Go check out his website guys, have a great safe Labor Day weekend, we’ll see you on Monday