For Child Safety Source, we are always willing to have a conversation with fellow safety experts. After all, our goal is to help keep children safer by the water. Today, we’re sharing our video interview with Liz Schmidt from Water Smart Palm Beach County. Liz is a water safety advocate who shares our mission. She has spent almost her entire life both in and around the water. She grew up on a lake developing her water safety skills. Since her teens, she’s worked as a lifeguard, and has taught swimming lessons and boating safety lessons.

Swimming Lessons: It's Never Too Late to Learn

During our video interview, Liz spoke with Eric Lupton, President at Life Saver Pool Fence. Together, they spoke about her work with Water Smart. You can watch the full video here:

About Water Smart Palm Beach County

To expand on what Liz explained in the video, Water Smart works with the local YMCA as a multi-agency group. Its main focus is to eliminate drowning deaths throughout the Palm Beach County area. A grave danger spurred the origin of this team-based effort. You see, drowning danger in Palm Beach County was actually the highest in the entire nation. Luckily, Water Smart was well-positioned to work together as a team to tackle this problem.

Together, Water Smart forms a countywide task force. In truth, it’s a sort of super-group. Working together, citizens, private businesses, other YMCAs and the local government help to spread education and save lives. Thanks to these joint efforts, Water Smart creates a powerful mass media campaign. It’s all part of an effort to educate both adults and children alike about water safety and awareness. Ultimately, the goal of the organization is to drop the level of drowning incidents down to zero in the County.

Water Smart Palm Beach County has been in operation for four years. The organization provides local kids with free or reduced-cost swim lessons at the local pools. In this way, they’ve really been able to strike back at unlikely drowning hazards and risks. Today, Water Smart Palm Beach County is serving roughly 10,000 kids in the area. To learn more, please visit the official website located at this link.

Thanks again to Liz for dropping by for this interview. As you’ve learned, she’s doing some really amazing work to spread water safety awareness. In many ways, her efforts are on par with many larger, nation-wide organizations. Everyone at Life Saver Pool Fence wishes her continued success!

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For safety fans on the go, we also offer audio-only versions of these interviews. As you can see, keeping up with the show is easy. Here are three ways to listen to Child Safety Source while you’re on the move!

Below is a Direct Transcript of the Child Safety Source Interview with Liz Schmidt, uploaded on Tuesday, 5/22:

Eric: Oh hey, today is Tuesday and we’re here with Liz Schmidt. It was awesome we’ve been sitting here chatting for way too long and that’s the seventh I mean the number seven.  This is the seventh episode of the Child Safety Resource already which is kind of oppressive. Liz is with Waters Smart Palm Beach County which is through the YMCA and she’s a Water Safety Advocate especially for this area and she’s doing really amazing work on par with a lot of the national {inaudible}organizations which is exciting even though she’s only right here which is really cool and it’s rare to have someone local.  So, I was excited to have her, so hi.

Liz: Hi.

Eric: How’s it going?

Liz: Good.

Eric: Yeah, it’s like you weren’t just sitting here chatting and.

Liz: I know right.

Eric: Right.  Yeah.  So like I said, I wanted to start with your kind of your origin story.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: Where you came from, the path that led you to the glamour that you now have?

Liz: To life on the water.

Eric: Yea, exactly.

Liz:  Exactly.

Liz: So my tail starts, I grew up on the water. I grew up actually Minnesota land of ten thousand lakes.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: And I grew up on Lake Minnetonka. Where some people may be familiar with it

Eric:  Like Prince?

Liz: Yeah, Prince, yeah.

Eric Chuckles

Liz: Yep one of my neighbors basically

Eric: Chuckles, Really.

Liz: Practically,

Eric Okay

Liz: Not really but

Eric:  Right, it’s same it seems.

Liz: Same thing, we drove past Paisley Park like it was kind of another house.

Eric Okay.

Liz: So It

Eric Is that where he lived?

Liz: Yea.

Eric: Cool.

Liz: Paisley Park, Chanhassen Minnesota and so everybody knew that when the dome was lit up purple that meant that he was recording so.

Eric:  Oh wow!

Liz: Yeah, yeah.

Eric That’s, I just, I never thought of this.

Liz: Prince, was just part of our kind of growing up so it’s you know interesting living here and after his death and people especially you know younger adults learning about who Prince is and we always kind of grew up with his songs on the radio locally.

Eric: Right.

Liz: Just him kind of around s.

Eric: I only know of Lake Minnetonka from going to Prince Hall.

Liz: Prince, right exactly.

Eric: Yea.

Liz: Exactly. So, yes, I grew up on the lake there and I was a boater and a swimmer and I started teaching swimming lessons when I was 14 as a Water Safety Aid.

Eric: Nice.

Liz: My mom needed something for my sister and I to do so she sent us off to the local pool to do that for the summer and so I’ve been teaching swimming lessons for a very long time.

Eric: To adults and kids adults?

Liz: Adults and kids, yeah I mean little babies all the way on up to adults and my family is also just integrated into the water safety world, my dad was the Deputy Water Patrol on the Lake of Minnetonka so I grew up knowing that I  how to be safe and all of that.  In addition

Eric: And just [inaudible] you’re anchoring nautical supplies.

Liz: Yea, yes I am full of nautical…

Eric:  It’s everywhere.

Liz:  Everywhere, everywhere on me, yea. I just grew up with that water safety background and was fortunate enough to be a boater, boated on Lake Superior all over the Great Lakes, Mississippi, down here in Florida. I’m also a scuba diver and so water is just kind of my world and so I’m so fortunate to be with the YMCA and promoting water safety as my full-time job.

Eric: Yes, so you said your mom was involved somehow too?

Liz: Well, no my mom she’s a nurse so.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: So, but-

Eric:  it connects.

Liz: Yea, it all connects. We’ll all boating safety all together.

Eric: Absolutely.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric:  So boating and then the swim lessons was really kind of the first?

Liz: Yeah, yeah and then my probably the biggest impact I’ve had especially as an adult, I’m looking back on as my dad ran a foundation called the Trident Foundation, that’s a search and recovery of drowning victims.

Eric: Oh wow!

Liz:  Throughout the U.S so he and his team which based out of Fort Collins Colorado who travel all around the United States doing different missions for search and recovery of drowning victims. So, we were always flooded with stories in my family in our household of the different missions. He was working and the different people he was looking for and so that kind of really instilled a level of respect on the water is because we knew that this could happen to anybody and why we did respect it.

Eric: Awesome!

Liz: Yeah.

Eric:  My mom did something similar actually.  I never thought it about this long time. She did keep diving rescue.

Liz: Oh wow!

Eric:  She was part of.

Liz: That’s intense (cross talk).

Eric: Like a scuba diving club.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: I guess they didn’t have local resources so if someone died in a cave, cave diving because they usually people would overestimate how much air they have left essentially or they’d get stuck by you know the little rock brakes you know have a small hole, water pressure can pin someone up against a wall so they would send her to go literally to get the bodies out of the caves.

Liz: Wow!

Eric: What she said was super creepy and weird.

Liz: Yeah, yeah.

Eric:  Yeah, so I had these stories growing up of her like you know going into you know underwater caves and fighting the people.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: And thinking about you know, you’re right it doesn’t still a certain respect for water when you see all the different ways it can hurt you.

Liz: Yeah definitely.

Eric: And how strong and powerful it is. So how did you end up with the YMCA and then doing {Inaudible?}

Liz: Yeah, so I have kind of always been a wild kid as what we call it. So I went to wile camp growing up.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: We were part of the Y.  I worked for the YMCA part-time throughout college and so I was kind of knew that the Y was a great organization obviously very water safety focused and some lesson focused and so when I saw this opportunity arise to take on this position and it was newly formed within the YMCA to kind of start this countywide drying prevention water safety effort.

Eric: So they were already looking for this and you latched on to it then?

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: That’s really cool.

Liz: Yea:

Eric: I kind of figured because that’s backwards. I thought you would probably already work there.

Eric: And then just and then you championed and held the banner but it’s cool they already had gone in that direction.

Liz: Yeah, yeah. So they had already, the Board Members had already decided that this was an initiative that the Y wanted to take on. They saw that drowning in Palm Beach County were some months, the highest in the nation and that the Y was really well positioned to somehow work with the community to fix that. So that’s kind of where I sought out the position and was able to come on board and really take it to what it is today and so part of that was starting Water Smart Palm Beach County, which is our countywide task force on drowning prevention and bringing together a whole group of people whether it’s from the local governments to the cities, to private industry to other YMCAs all facets of water safety and boating safety, beach safety bringing them together and saying okay here’s our problem people are drowning. They’re drowning in lots of different ways.

Eric: Right.

Liz:  Lots of different ages of people are. How can we work together to fix it?

Eric: And what’s kind of neat about it is that if you know that YMCA you wouldn’t know. They don’t smother it with their branding. I mean they could.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: And that’d be fine but they don’t seem to be interested in that.

Liz: Yeah. I mean it’s really about connecting the community together and so that was actually really purposeful when we created the logo and when we kind of work within the water smart realm is that this is water smart. It’s a team effort and no one agency can accomplish this issue especially here in Palm Beach County but I mean nationwide but no one agency, no one person can do it and so that’s why under the umbrella, Water Smart  anybody can use that as long as they’re part of the coalition.  Anybody can go out and talk about water smart and as a member and be a part of it and so that was really important to me and to the YMCA saying okay we need to bring our community together not be so focused on you know are you a government, non-government private industry we can all work together to make this happen.

Eric: How long have you been doing it?

Liz: So, we’ve been doing this about 4 years.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: And before this did you do?

Liz: Before this, I was with the American Red Cross.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: And so I started as an Assistant Station Manager in Fort Hood Texas and so I was sent to Texas to do emergency communication messaging. I would work with soldiers families back home if they had a family emergency here stateside, I would work with at Soldier command unit over in Bagram Afghanistan mainly, and work to get that soldier sent home for leave.

Eric: oh wow!

Liz: So, yeah, so we were really helping to connect families and making sure you know a lot of its you know father’s and a lot of kind of head of households were ones that were being sent overseas and so we were making sure that they could come back and take care of whatever issues they had here at home.

Eric: Absolutely.

Liz: Yeah. So, I did that for a little over a year and then I came over here to Florida and I worked for the Red Cross and disaster relief in Broward County.

Eric: Yes.

Liz: And so I ran a volunteer team of disaster Action Team and we responded to local emergencies in the community mainly house fire and so volunteers would go out and work with the local government, work with the house owner, the homeowner, the renter making sure that they had you know their immediate needs met: food, clothing, shelter right after that disaster.

Eric: So mostly everything has been non-profit?

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah.

Liz: Yea, yeah.

Eric: That’s cool.

Eric: Did you go to school for anything close to this?

Liz: No.

Liz:  I went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth up in Northern Minnesota for environmental studies as well as communication so the communication piece comes in a bit.

Eric: Maybe.

Liz: Fits in.

Eric:  Yea,

Liz: A little bit, yea.

Eric: But not the Environmental Studies.

Liz: No, no, but it’s okay I had a great time in college.

Eric: That works.

Liz: Did lots of camping trips and had a good time.

Eric: Awesome.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: So Water Smart Palm Beach County has been around for 4 years?

Liz: Hmm, mm.

Eric: What are some highlights of things that you’ve done so far that you’re excited about?

Liz: Definitely .we are really working together to connect our community. I think one of the best things that have come out from Water Smart is we are all working together to get kids more swim lessons so but prior to Water Smart starting,  countywide we were serving a little under a thousand kids in free swimming lessons. Fast-forward 4 years today we’re serving about 10,000 kids.

Eric: Wow.

Liz: Through Water Smart so that would be.

Eric: So when you say serving kids, what does that mean?

Liz: We’re providing them with swimming lessons.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: so we’re providing those kids with free or reduced cost swim lessons at our local pools so that can be county city or YMCA and we’ve really kind of taken each individual efforts and pool them together. One of the great things that has come out of this is Y staff actually going to the pools to help with those lessons.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: So one of the things we all know about especially in the aquatics worlds we have a pointed shortage of qualified swimming instructors and lifeguards.  So what I do is part of my contribution to Water Smart is I have staff.

Eric: Okay.

Liz:  So I bring my lifeguards and my swim instructors out to facilities that need it and we provide swim lessons.  So, the greatest probably adventure that has come out of that has been that we’re able to serve children together so we have some of the city staff and some of the YMCA staff working together to make sure that summer camp gets served swim lessons. And so the ride alongside each other when you are in the water you can’t tell because everyone’s just learning how to swim so that’s been really great. So, instead of either not serving a group saying we don’t have staff at all to do it or saying well we can only serve you know one portion of your group with the Y staff coming in and helping, we’re able to serve all of the groups.

Eric:  That’s really cool because the city would be limited to only a certain number of [inaudible] by it because by resources or by demographic.

Liz: Exactly, yeah, exactly so we’ve been able to do that so we’re working in over 17 pools throughout Palm Beach County being able to provide swim lessons to those kids.

Eric: That’s really cool.

Liz:  Yeah.

Eric: And, so if someone wanted to get free swim lessons, what they do?

Liz:  So the best way to get swim lessons is to contact the Drowning Prevention Coalition.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: They do offer the vouchers. The programs that the YMCA offers for some lessons are all in groups so advocate that their group whether it’s their summer camp, their child’s preschool, their child’s Girl Scout, Boy Scout Troop advocate that those kids should get swim lessons and then they can contact me at and we can work with them to get some swimming lessons to them in their group. So  they don’t have to come to the Y, we can go out to them.

Eric: Okay.

Liz:  To be able to provide those lessons so it’s being able to break down any barriers of transportation or anything like that and we’ll come to you and do those lessons.

Eric: That’s really cool so the John friendship coalition of Palm Beach County does individualistic lessons?

Liz: Yes so they do and what happens is you go online and you fill in some information and they’ll if you’re  qualify, you’ll receive a voucher in the mail and that allows you to go to pools throughout Palm Beach County to redeem that, that’s like a coupon.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: You can redeem that for a free swimming lesson.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: So you can redeem those at the county pools so most of the cities in Palm Beach County offer those and then the YMCA’s as well in the in Palm Beach do offer those so by going to their website drug prevention coalition, you’ll be able to see the list of facilities and apply for a voucher there.

Eric: And is the qualification income base?

Liz: It is income based so it’s mainly if your child is on free or reduced lunch that’s kind of the blanket but there on the website they’ll kind of talk you through what you have to provide to them.

Eric: Alright and I’m sure if you Google Drowning Prevention Coalition County

Liz: Yeah, there it’s you know government address its super long so yeah just Google that and it will pop it right up.

Eric: Fantastic, so what was I asked you before what the last was or some of the most recent pool events you did?

Liz: Yea.

Eric: I know you said yesterday you met with Congresswoman Lois Frankel?

Liz: Yes, yes that was a great meeting and congresswoman hosted a water safety round table at Viking yachts up in Riviera Beach bringing together boating safety and water safety advocates from around the county to kind of talk about it was mainly geared towards the boating safety industry and for those of you that don’t know there are over thousand boats registered in the state of Florida.

Eric: I did not know that.

Liz: And the boating industry is a 39 billion dollar industry here in the state of Florida.

Eric: Wow!

Liz: It’s huge.

Eric: Just in Florida?

Liz: Just in Florida.

Liz: Yea, the average boat that’s registered in the state is 18 to 25 feet so it’s that kind of smaller family size boat so we know that a lot of families are taking advantage of boating which is awesome because Florida is perfect. We’ve boating during the 365 days a year.

Eric: Right.

Liz: It’s perfect weather for it but we want to make sure that these families are safe so bringing this group together is really saying how can we educate them if they need life jackets, they need proper fitting life jackets, they need proper equipment, they need safe vessels that they’re operating and they need to know the rules of the road.  So, it’s really bringing that group together and it was really great for the congresswoman to bring us all together to start talking about that and specifically within the boating realm.

Eric:  That’s it. So what should people know if they’re going to go out boating?

Liz: Yeah, so if you’re going out especially you know over the next couple of weeks and into the summer as we start getting ready is making sure that you a have a life-jacket properly fitting for everyone on board that is not only the law, it’s just common sense. Children under the age of 10 are required to wear a life jacket but really children of you know all ages and all adults should be wearing a life jacket when they’re on the boat but making sure that they’re properly fitting.

Also file a float plan and that can be as simple as sending a text message to somebody on shore saying hey, we’re going to go out, we’re going to go to you know this standby, we’re expecting to be back about 6 o’clock, we’ll text you when we get in and just telling somebody this is where I’m going. Also, cell phones don’t always work out in the ocean so if you’re going to go out fishing once you get to 2 -3 miles out those cell phones are not going to work as well and so relying on that as your only form of communication you could get yourself into trouble so having a VHF radio on your boat is really important and then if you are going to go out far into out fishing it’s having an E-pirb or a personal location device and making sure that you register those as well with no less so that if something does happen you will be able to get rescued.

Eric: So I heard a stat once that you know of the number of people that drown on open water, the number of them with life jackets was super small.

Eric: Do you know that data?

Liz: It’s like 85 % of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket on a boat so it’s pretty high so you know best thing to do is to always wear it but always make sure that you have it with you and really having one that you’re comfortable with. There are so many different types of options for life jackets out there so there’s the traditional vest kind which a lot of people don’t like especially here in Florida because they’re hot but the inflatable are really great and the prices have come down a lot on those.  I know when they first were kind of introduced into the boating community they were running about $200 -$500 and now you can find some really good ones that you know are going to run you dollars or less.  And so those are light, they’re you know you’re not going to be a sweaty wearing them, there you can move around with. They also have options that are like a fanny pack so you wear it around your waist and if you were to fall in and don’t slip and then you pop the life-jacket over your head.

Eric: That’s cool.

Liz: So there are lots of different options out there for people and then the kids life jackets are getting easier.

Eric: I’d say I know people have a hard time with the kid life jackets because they’re big, they’re clunky a lot of times when kids hit the water with them, they tend to tilt forward, yeah.

Eric: This is not good obviously.

Liz: Yea, yea and so really just like their research and the product development in life jackets have come so far.

Eric: Sure.

Liz: Even in the past 10 years so kids life jackets are becoming lighter they’re becoming less bulky. The style of life jacket that actually goes up your arm and clasps around your torso for children, those are actually Coast Guard approved.

Eric: Right.

Liz: So making sure that you check to make sure that the one you purchase is Coast Guard approved but actually those are fine and lots of families are saying that those are a lot easier for kids, they’re easier for swimming, they’re easier for you know it’s hot wearing those and things like that.

Eric: I’ve heard some debate on that because I’ve seen people say that those are similar like puddle jumpers and folates but you know if their coast guard approved.

Liz:  Yeah ,yeah so that’s you want to make sure that they are Coast guard approved and the reason why that is when you fall off the boat or if you have an incident sometimes hitting the water is as hard as hitting concrete.

Eric: Right.

Liz: and so part of what that Coast guard-approved stamp shows is that when you fall in that life jacket is going to  be able to protect you.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: Also, the strapping and the webbing that’s actually clipping you in is been certified to be strong, it’s not going to come apart and the flotation is not going to clog with water and things like that. So you want to make sure that you are getting one that’s approved. Most life jackets that you buy at Target, Walmart, West Marine are going to have that stamp just double-checking and it’s pretty prevalent on the inside of the life-jacket.

Eric: Perfect.  So besides boating safety, I know you said before the meeting you had another event you just did.

Liz: Yes so the YMCA we hosted our annual splash bash.

Eric: That’s what it was.

Liz: Which is our free swimming lesson so once a year.

Eric: Once you get it wrong I would splash something, you’re sure going to get it wrong.

Liz: Yeah, right, I know all those little names for things

Eric: Yeah.

Liz: Yeah, we hosted some families at our YMCA around 200  families came to our YMCA for a week of free swimming lessons and this is really us opening up the Y”s to our community and saying it’s almost spring, it’s almost time to start talking about and thinking about water safety.  Come to our Y”s, test out some swimming lessons for a week and you know get yourself ready for the summer. It’s a really great event we’re really happy to be able to do this for our community and we look forward to continuing to do more splash bashes as the years continue.

Eric: That’s cool.

Liz:  Yeah.

Eric: So when you do summer lessons, what are the age ranges?

Liz:  So the YMCA we teach as young as 6 months of age and that’s parent- child. `The parents actually in the water and what I tell people is that class is actually for the parents not as much as for the kids.

Eric: Okay.

Liz: So it’s the actual the parent getting in the water with the kid, learning how to hold them learning how to teach them how to blow bubbles and the parents actually getting comfortable with being in the water with their child knowing how to submerge the child safely and then also a lot about rules. So teaching them how to teach their kids how to properly enter the water, how to wait for the parent before they get in the water and things like that.  They’re really beneficial. Its also great for parent child bonding. Being able do some of those activities.

For the kids, we teach them back floats and the starting of the paddling but it’s a lot to teach those parents how to start instil those skills onto their children and the as you move up the range starting at 3, is when we actually do our preschool level classes. Those are classes where kids are in the water, parents are on the side and that’s where we actually starting to teach those skills. The YMCA we recently re-launched our curriculum so for those of you who remember YMCA, we had all fishing, we have all the spike heel and all that stuff. So we have gotten rid of those fish names. We have 6 stages that children can go through and 3 of them are kind of the main 3 stages that we want kids to be safer around water with and so what children are learning is basically jump push, turn grab so if they fall in the water, they are learning the jump stimulate the fall.

Eric: Okay

Liz: Then they are learning to push off the {Inaudible} or turn around and grab the wall behind them.

Eric: And what age does that start?

Liz: They start that out at 3.

Eric:  Okay.

Liz: So start that right away, we will introduce it in to our parent-child classes but we have them start doing it independently at the age of 3. And then the other one that we teach them is swim float swim. And so we are basically teaching them to pedal on their front. If they get tired, roll on their backs to get rest and then flip back over to swim to get to safety.  So when the YMCA nationally re-launched our swimming lesson curriculum. They really took a look at swimming drowning swimming data from all around the country and found a huge percentage of drownings were happening:

  1. a) Under adult supervision.
  2. b) Within 6-10 feet of safety.

And so, we re-design out curriculum to be most safe when children are in those 2 scenarios.

Eric: Right, That makes sense.

Liz: Yea.

Eric: So what about before three, I know you said the younger curriculum is mostly for parents to learn how to interact with their kids in the water

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: This is massively important, obviously.

Liz: Yeah,

Eric: I notice there are few curriculums out there that focus on infants from rescue. Is Y the right place to go for that?

Liz: So, we do offer that program at our Boca  YMCA so families are interested they can come to our Y and you know really when it comes to water safety, wanting to make sure that people pick a method that makes sense to them.

Eric: Sure.

Liz: And so there are lots of different things and there’s lots of people will tell lots of different things

Eric: Right.

Liz: There are some rescue verses progressive swims.

Eric: vs. American Red Cross.

Liz: YMCA.

Eric:   Maybe.

Liz:  All the different ones.

Eric: Yeah.

Liz: And what I tell parents is I say do your research look into the curriculum and really talk to those different areas that’s also you know kind of what your price point is and what you’re you know interested in spending. Do you want a swim instructor to come to your house or do you want to go somewhere so it’s really kind of looking at what’s the best for you. Any type of water safety is better than none.

Eric: True

Liz: So making sure parents really utilize what’s most comfortable to them.

Eric: Awesome.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: So what event do you have coming in the future? Any  water safety right now?

Liz: Water safety month is right now so this is the best time to get enrolled in swim lessons, making sure your pool is safe and ready for the summer, making sure that you have all the proper equipment if you’re going to go up boating this summer. So, this is really the time to kind of take a look at are you ready for the summer?

We at the YMCA are getting ready for our summer programming so with the community outreach programming, we provide some lessons for about 2000 kids through the summer so my staff are all getting ready to go out into the community pools and provide those swim lessons so we’re working with lots of different groups throughout Palm Beach County to be able to provide those lessons.

Eric: You are going to run out of kids.

Liz:  Yeah, I don’t think so.

Eric: I don’t know how many are there but you’re [inaudible].

Liz: We’re getting through them right? Yeah no it’s great and with the program being around for a few years now, with a lot of our summer camp groups. We’re now to the point where we’ve gotten the whole camp through so now we’re just focusing on you knows every first grader or every 5, 6 year old or something like that so it’s really great. This is becoming a legacy at those programs.

Eric: Sure.

Liz: where part of attending this summer camp you’re getting some lessons or you know being in that preschool that’s happening actually at Forints Fuller in Boca and South Palm Beach County is we’ve been doing swimming lessons with so much that it’s just integrated in part of their school and every child that goes to their school is getting swimming lessons, they’re leaving safer and their families are getting educated and that wasn’t happening before.

So, yeah, we’re   gearing up for that, we’re working with the Children’s Services Council on the summer safety series pool parties so we’ll have more information about that but those are happening in July. That’s happening out in Belle Glade and then here locally in Lake Lydell and we open up the pools to the communities and bringing them in and it’s an afternoon to enjoy being in the water, being at the pool and picking up some great safety information for not only water safety but we also focus on bike safety and other things like that at those events. So, we’re getting ready for those to happen as well so of lots of exciting stuff this summer.

Eric: Yeah, it’s a jam-packed schedule.

Liz: Yes. Yeah, definitely.

Eric: So, well what are some things that you want specifically parents to know about water safety going forward for the rest of summer?

Liz: Yeah definitely, making sure that they talk to their kids about water safety. I think that is such a great step, is why the rules you know do you have you pool in your backyard or if you have a canal or a drainage pond or something like that, what are the rules around that?

Liz: You know growing up I grew up on a lake and my whole life and we had a bench and the rule was is you couldn’t go past the bench that your lifejacket is on. You could go past the bench but you had your jacket on.

Eric: Right.

Liz: And that was the rule and if you didn’t follow that rule then there were consequences for that and so I’ve really kind of looked back on that in my own childhood and thought that was a really great role and that bench was probably a good 12   feet back from the water and so it really did stop us and if we wanted to go on the dock, we would put our life jackets on and then we were free to go on the dock, so really instilling what are those rules in your family checking to make sure that.

Eric: And we have a pool safety guide and part of the guide actually says, “when it comes to water safety and pool safety that you really need to be hardcore” even if that’s not your personality even if that’s not how you normally parent that because this is such an extreme literally life and death issue on this one topic you really need to be you know almost severe in your parenting.

Liz:  Yeah

Eric: There needs to be really hard and fast rules and they need to be followed because the consequences are traumatic.

Liz: Yea, yeah and I think you know most kids with water especially it’s always seen as such a fun activity and so setting those rules and those boundaries isn’t going to prevent it from being fun right it’s still fun and I’m definitely a product of that I ‘grew up with lots of very strict rules around water safety but I still grew up loving it and now doing it professionally. So, I definitely agree with that. So it’s really setting those rules and then there’s simple things you can do around your home; you can install the alarms those you can pick up anywhere Wal-Mart, Target,

Eric: Home Depot

Liz: Home Depot, Lowe’s wherever about 7 to $14 and putting those up on your backdoor, windows and things like that if you know have a lot of water in your backyard making sure you {inaudible] and getting a life jacket for your kids, so if you’re going to a pool party in the summer putting them in a life jacket when they’re swimming around it’s just a really great way to make sure that they’re going to be safer. One of the main causes that we see is parents not watching their kids around water so they really need to watch our kids are on water. And it’s not just you know you and I are having a conversation and let’s say there was a kids in front of us swimming but we really need to have our eyes on those kids and drowning is so quick and it’s so silent that parents really need to know that and so we talked about having a water watcher and so designating what person it can be a rotating person throughout the party

Eric: Yeah you even say what every 10, 15 minutes.

Liz: Yea, exactly and just designating that person and their job is to sit on the pool side and just watch those kids almost like a lifeguard would and really doing that to make sure they’re safe and then rotating that throughout so that the adults get the time to socialize, the kids get the time to play in the water and then everyone’s kind of being happy and safe.

Eric:  Well, it’s good for socialization and also your eyes burn out.  I think even professional lifeguards kindly do it for 30 minutes or so before they relieved.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: And that’s because you only stare at the water for so long before you stop paying attention.

Liz:  Definitely, definitely.

Eric: So you know if a lifeguard is going to do it for half hour of regular normal citizens you know probably -10-15 minutes.

Liz:  Yeah, yeah.

Eric: It turns out.

Liz: Definitely.

Eric: Pool fences obviously.

Liz:  Yes yes.

Eric: And then alarms in the pool also.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric:  Even though it does but those have issue.

Liz: Yea, you know the technology is improving.

Eric: We’re getting better.

Liz: I think we’re really in the time where technology just approving over and over and over so taking a look at products that maybe weren’t very well established you know even three or four years ago, it’s getting a lot better.So, you know that’s why I just say do your research, take a look and see what’s best for your family and have a backup so some type of three layers of production.

Eric: Right.

Liz: So you know have that door alarm have that pool fence and then have that pool alarm so that if any of those layers were to break down then there’s you’ve got backups for that redundancy.

Eric: The law in California actually gives you like 5 or 7 options and you have to pick  2.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: Which I think is fantastic.

Liz: Yea.

Eric: You know because it reinforces the protection mentality.

Liz: Definitely

Eric:  If we could get that adopted out here that’d be great.

Liz: Yeah

Eric: I think we talked once but the law changed that we’re floating alarms are now to be exclusively used.

Liz: Yea,

Eric:  Which is terrifying to me.

Liz: Yeah, I agree yeah, yeah.

Eric: If we could get it back to how it was. If we get that the Florida law back how it was in 2001 when it was a self-closing gate either hardwired alarms on all those windows, I think we’d be better off.

Liz: A little better off, yeah.

Eric: I’m nervous right now that someone’s going to get a floating pool or I am going to think that’s all they need and something’s going to happen you know.

Liz: Yeah, I think we’re you know we’re treading close.

Eric: Yea,

Liz: To there being a problem.

Eric: To the edge.

Eric/Liz: Yeah

Liz: I think so.

Eric:  It’s on the edge. Awesome! Was there anything else you want to let people know about Water Smart anything guys any you want to plug in particular.

Liz: I mean if you know where I was looking for great members if you’re working with in child safety, water safety in Palm Beach County. We’d love to have you a part of our meetings we meet every fourth Tuesday at the Children’s Services Council at 9:30. We’d love to have you part of what we’re working on.

Eric: I should more of this.

Liz: You should.

Eric: I’m a terrible person.

Liz: So continue what we are doing, working on our event s working together and really looking to go do some of that legislation and move that up.

Eric: That’s awesome

Liz: Yea.

Eric: Very good.

Liz: Yeah very good well thank you so much.

Liz: Yeah, thank you for having me too

Eric: Absolutely.

Liz: It was great, love talking about what I do if you can’t tell.

Eric: Right. I mean, you do a cool thing.

Liz: Yea. It’s fun.

Eric: You are fortunate you get to do something awesome.

Liz: Yeah I’m so lucky. I love my job. I love what I do working with the YMCA is great and I’m they’ve really giving me the opportunity to grow this department to be what it is and it’s been it’s a fun ride.

Eric: Really cool.

Liz: Yeah.

Eric: Thanks Liz.

Eric: Thank you.

Eric: Alright, good alright see you guys later.