Since we’re still in the midst of National Water Safety Month, Child Safety Source is especially proud to share our video interview with Alissa Magrum, of Colin’s Hope. She’s the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Colin’s Hope. In this video, she chatted with Life Saver Pool Fence president Eric Lupton via Facebook Live about water safety and the mission of Colin’s Hope.
What is Colin’s Hope?
First, let’s start with a bit of background about Colin’s Hope. This organization was formed in 2008 after a devastating tragedy. Colin Holst was a four-year-old boy who sadly drowned in a public pool. This incident happened while both lifeguards were on duty and family members were present. Even with watchful eyes, water can still be a terrifying force. For just a few moments, Colin separated from the other kids. To everyone’s horror, he was discovered unresponsive and unconscious in the shallow end of the pool. Sadly, it was too late to save Colin.
Following the loss of their son, Colin’s parents were understandably devastated. Fortunately, they turned their sorrow into an incredible force for good. Fueled by their desire to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, they founded this non-profit organization in their community. Through education, they aim to raise water safety awareness by educating children, parents and lifeguards about drowning prevention. Everyone needs to beware of unlikely drowning hazards and of the dangers of having a false sense of security. After all, drowning is the top cause of accidental death for children under the age of five.
Watch our interview with Alissa Magrum:
Child Safety Source Talks About Keeping Kids Safe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for each fatal drowning incident, five more children receive emergency care for submersion injuries. Through education and layers of pool protection, parents can help to reduce the amount of potential tragedies.
While accidents do occur, both Colin’s Hope and Life Saver Pool Fence believe that drowning is preventable. For further information, feel free to browse our comprehensive Pool Safety Guide. Even better, check out the rest of our tip-filled blog posts.
For example, here are a few of our most popular blogs:
- Bathtub Safety: 4 Tips to Stay Safe in the Tub
- What is the Value of a Mesh Pool Fence?
- How to Save Someone from Drowning
- 5 Tips for Boating Safety
- Bathtub Safety: 4 Tips to Stay Safe in the Tub
As always, feel free to share these posts with your friends. If you enjoyed our interview with Alissa, you should absolutely follow our official Facebook page. We’ll be doing more interviews in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, Alissa!
To learn more about Alissa and Colin’s Hope, please visit the official website.
Below is a Direct Transcript of the Child Safety Source Interview with Alissa Magrum from May 10th:
We are live on the interwebs, this is our second episode for the day. Because why not do two in one day? I don’t have anything better to do. We are here with Alissa, and Alissa is the amazing and fantastic Executive Director of Colin’s Hope. Colin’s Hope was started in memory and inspired by Colin Holst, who tragically drowned and Alissa can talk more about that.
She has a fantastic background in all kinds of things; she’s been an Athlete Ambassador for a couple of different organizations. She has a great history in swimming and doing all kinds of marathons and races, and also in marketing, and is a huge advocate for water safety. I just knew she’d be the perfect person to be the fourth ever guest on the Child Safety Resource. So yeah that’s it. Hi how’s it going?
Alissa Magrum: Alright. Hi, in my world of racing fourth means you’re off the podium.
Alissa: But that’s okay, I’m going to get on the podium on this one.
Eric: You could still be the best one ever but number four, right?
Eric: And today is the best day ever, right?
Alissa: It is. It is as you can see.
Eric: I like that.
Alissa: And you will hear that multiple times during this interview, it is our mantra here at Colin’s Hope.
Eric: It’s funny, I used to tell people and I should probably get back on it. When people would say, how you doing? I would respond that today is the best day of my life, because every day gets a little bit better than the day before just by the sheer momentum of being alive, and that everything’s going well. So since every day is a little bit better than the day before it, every day you see me is the best day of my life. So it’s kind of the best day ever mantra.
Alissa: Yeah well for us it was what Colin used to say every day, he used to say, today was the best day ever. So in an effort to have a really positive spin on a very serious topic, and honoring him and his legacy that’s kind of why we use it.
Eric: It’s perfect, I love it. So like I said, I wanted to start with your origin story. If you were a superhero what would be your origin story? How did you get started? Kind of where did you come from, and what is the ninety–, the two minute version of where you started to where you are now?
Alissa: Sure, well so me as a person that’s what–.
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Alissa: Okay, maybe my superpower is powered by sunshine, I don’t know. I think I have pretty good, and all my life have been a real positive person. And full of life, I think you used the word vibrant, I love that when I read that. And that’s probably as a super power, and has been with me all my life. Both my role in my family as well as with friends, and now in the work that I do, I would say that my origin involved a lot of sunshine. I don’t know if the sun was shining the day I was born, but I like to think it was.
And that’s something that I always lean into, is being positive even in the most negative or troublesome situation. Is finding that silver lining, finding that ray of light to sort of lean into. And so I guess that I thread that through my personal life, through my work life, through whatever it is that I do, I try. That doesn’t mean, I’m also I am a human and so sometimes that superpower is not as sunshiny. And that’s okay, but that’s probably, that would be probably what I would say to that question. That’s a hard question to answer.
Eric: It is so, how did you get started in life? You graduated high school, did you go to college?
Alissa: I graduated high school; I got my undergraduate at Mary Washington College in Virginia. I’m from outside the DC area, I played soccer in college. From there I went and did a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer which is; Volunteers In Service To America. I spent a year in Ardmore Oklahoma working with–.
Eric: I’ve never heard of that organization so, what is that?
Alissa: Well so VISTA actually started in the 60s, is one of the War on Poverty programs. So you have the Peace Corps which is an international two years of service, VISTA is a domestic service so I spent a year. I had a living stipend, a very small living stipend and I spent a year doing service in Ardmore Oklahoma.
I worked with a group called Communities in Schools, and I served Indian children, so Native American children that came from about 30 different tribes across Oklahoma. They lived in a boarding facility in Ardmore, and so I developed youth development programs, mentoring programs, tutoring programs, coached about five soccer teams, basically helped integrate the kids into the community that they lived in; helped also keep them connected to their culture because a lot of them had lost their Native American culture throughout the story of their life.
So I spent a year doing that, and then I went to work for General Colin Powell at an organization called America’s Promise in DC. And that was about connecting communities with resources for children. I did that and then I became, I moved to Dallas Texas and was an AmeriCorps Recruiter. I went around to colleges trying to get other young people too, and old to do AmeriCorps which is the, one of the programs that I had done.
Eric: So what made you move to Dallas?
Alissa: The job, it was a recruiter job, and I had been, I was sick of the traffic around DC. Honestly I don’t like to sit in traffic; it’s one of my things. I feel as though it’s a way to waste minutes of hours of your life each day and I don’t want to do it. So I was looking for something new, and so I went to Dallas and then did that for a year. Ended up in Austin to speed it up a little bit, spend some time at the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service which has funded all the AmeriCorps programs in Texas.
So I have to come up– come at it from the other side handing out the money and monitoring programs in different communities across Texas. And then I spent 10 years at Communities in Schools of Central Texas, which did dropout prevention. So we worked with kids who are struggling in school with academics, attendance, and behavior. A lot of the times those things were problems and issues because of things that were going at home, or issues around poverty.
So I was there for 10 years and then Colin Holst drowned and my daughter went to preschool with Colin. And so in June of 2008 I got a phone call from the director of the preschool where both Colin and my daughter Ella went to school. And he said, “Alissa I know you work with social workers and counselors at your job we had, tragically we had a student drown yesterday and our teachers need help. Can you send some counselors and some social workers over to debrief the teachers and work with them?”
So I did that, and three months later Colin’s family started Colin’s Hope. Now when Colin drowned it was a wake-up call for me as a parent of a small child, that drowning was something I needed to even think about. I had never, I lived by the lake we swim all the time, I’m a swimmer I’m a triathlete and my daughter when she was two could swim across the length of the pool.
But I did not think that drowning was something that I needed to think about. And suddenly because of Colin’s drowning I realized wow this is something that I need to be plugged into as a parent and talk to my friends about, talk to whomever, and so I started.
When Colin’s Hope started three months after Colin drowned and this is our 10 year anniversary. So June 13th will be the 10 year anniversary of Colin’s drowning, and August will be the 10 year anniversary of the formation of Colin’s Hope. I immediately started volunteering for Colin’s Hope as I have a deep admiration for Jeff and Jana Holst, Colin’s parents.
As I have for all of the families that I now work alongside, and warrior alongside with Families United to Prevent Drowning. But they’ve turned their tragedy into triumph, and we’re trying to use the worst tragedy that a parent can face and turn it into something that saves lives. And I had to be a part of that, and so I was a volunteer for about two and a half years.
And then they decided that they wanted to make an even bigger impact and they needed to hire a staff person. So they asked me if I would be the Executive Director, the first staff person for Colin’s Hope. And so I left my very stable job of 10 years. I’ve a history in nonprofit management so this was, I’d just gotten my Masters in Organizational Leadership and Ethics. It was an opportunity to help a startup organization become something bigger and brighter. It was a good challenge for me, and it was a good time in my life.
My daughter was in kindergarten, so I was able to have a different schedule where I could be available to go to things at school. So there was a lot of win-wins. And I told myself, “Oh I’ll do this for five years, I’ll do this, I’ll get them onto a sustainable path.” And seven and a half years later here we are and it is I couldn’t think about leaving this organization.
We’re small but mighty, we now have three staff people; myself, a Program Director, and a Program Coordinator. Four thousand volunteers strong and many many many partners across Texas and beyond that really helped us do our work every, 365 days a year.
So that’s the sort of condensed version of I guess my work life. I never, I didn’t know anything about water safety when I came on board with Colin’s Hope but now I feel like I know more than I ever really wanted to know. I know more stories that I carry with me every single day.
I feel like I do the work of those families, and the work of not only honoring Colin, but honoring all of those families and the children that they’ve lost to drowning, or their children that have survived non-fatal drownings, because we work with those families as well. Something that before we get too far into this I want to tell you why I’m wearing a lifejacket.
Eric: Yeah, I was going to ask you so go ahead.
Alissa: Okay, well because I spend all my days in a lifejacket, no I’m just kidding. I’m actually wearing a lifejacket because I, we work in partnership with the LV Project which is in honor of Connor Gage. Who was a 15 year old here in Texas who lost his life to a fatal drowning in a lake and he was not wearing a life vest.
And so the LV Project and the National Injury Prevention Council and in honor of two other boys in Texas, Christopher Gregoire and Jose Servin, have launched a Dare To Wear One campaign. During May which is National Water Safety Month and they’re daring people to wear lifejackets in situations that are not water related activities. And then take their picture and use the #DareToWearOne on social media to really bring out the message that lifejackets save lives, lifejackets can be cool and to challenge people to change their behaviors around water.
And specifically in this case around wearing lifejackets and wearing US Coast Guard approved lifejackets, there’s another one behind me but so anyway I wanted to support their Dare to Wear One campaign. And challenge anyone who’s watching or anyone who sees this to do that, put on a lifejacket. Go somewhere fun, take your picture, and then tag it on social media whether that’s Facebook, or Twitter, Instagram whatever your social media platform is. So I will do this entire thing wearing my lifejacket, it’s quite comfortable actually.
Eric: And what, if you hold the sign up again.
Eric: We can get a screen shot and have that be your picture.
Alissa: I know I’m going to somehow figure out how to see it with my lifejacket though; it’s hard with the little tiny camera.
Eric: It is I can get rid your name, let me get that out of the way, hold on.
Alissa: If I were taller it would work better.
Eric: I wish I was a little bit taller, okay perfect holding a screenshot and that’ll be it.
Eric: I got.
Alissa: Good okay.
Eric: Yup, it’s all good I got it.
Alissa: Okay, so I’m done with that commercial message. But that was for the LV Project and a NIPC and those boys.
Eric: That is really cool so, tell me about your surfboard?
Alissa: Oh well this is a wake surf board.
Eric: It is?
Alissa: It’s actually not mine it belongs to someone who purchased it at our Best Day Ever Party Auction. But it’s a local company TukTuk and they designed it for us, and I actually got to create the design and pour the resin and help them make it.
Eric: That’s actually cool.
Alissa: And it’s the custom Best Day Ever Board. So it has to go to its home, but I needed a backdrop for this interview so I thought why not? Why not promote our partners here?
Eric: It’s super cool, and is it functional; will they be able to use it?
Alissa: Yeah, it’s totally functional it’s a really high-end awesome wakesurf board. So these are our friends at TukTuk Boards local to Austin Texas.
Eric: Nice out here we have a local company called Nomad; they make surfboards and was started by a guy named Ronnie Heavyside. And actually he passed away a week ago and his sons have taken over the business, and they’re local legends down here in South Florida. Their little surf shop has been around for 30 years.
Alissa: Cool, maybe we can commission them to do a Best Day Ever Board.
Eric: They would love that, they would totally do that yeah, I would totally. Look and behind you again the yellow vest?
Alissa: Okay so the yellow and I don’t want to move it because it may fall off the couch here. But this is, and I’ll talk about this guy later.
Eric: Yeah please.
Alissa: This is from our friends at TRC which is another Texas company. This is actually the Remembering Wyatt Dale, they’re a partner of ours here in Texas and Wyatt’s grandmothers do a lot of lifejacket distribution because they lost Wyatt to a lake drowning. And TRC is our local company who has made these life vests, and they distribute them. So I figured I’d have it in the picture and give a little support to them as well.
Eric: Those are great and I was saying kind of before we got started, I want to get a hold of them. Because when the Child Safety Store launches in a month I definitely want to make sure I’m carrying their life vest because they’re really good.
Alissa: They’re super soft.
Eric: They’re super soft that is their main message, right? And they’re child-sized which is hard to find.
Alissa: Yes they have a bunch of different sizes. So even more than the standard lifejackets have; infant, child, youth and then go up into adult sizes. And they have multiple different even more sizes; because lifejackets are actually it can be complicated to find the right fit and the right size. And that’s a big thing when you’re choosing a lifejacket is that they’re properly–.
Eric: Especially because infants can be all kinds of different sizes so it’s nice to have.
Eric: Options are good. So tell me what Colin’s Hope is up to right now, what you guys have going on, what’s exciting and new?
Alissa: Okay there is something exciting and new every single day here at Colin’s Hope. It’s National Water Safety Month. So we have a page on our website which is called taupe.org that focuses on some initiatives. National Water Safety Month one of the things that we’re trying to do is get people to change their, we have a Facebook profile frame that you can change your profile picture to, it says May is National Water Safety Month and you’ll hear.
Eric: I saw that, it’s very cool.
Alissa: Yeah, and then Colin’s dad created that. And you’ll hear me talk about and I’m just going to try to show this. Being a Water Guardian, it’s kind of our campaign that we’re using on pretty much everything that we do this year. Challenging people to be a Water Guardian, meaning obviously we have these.
We distribute 75,000 of these Water Safety cards each year in both English and in Spanish. And they have Water Safety tips on the front, they have on the back, it’s hard to see but you can see it’s a letter from Colin’s parents. And so it’s just Colin’s story, the statistic that shows that children under five are the greatest highest risk of drowning. It’s that stat that drowning is the number one cause of unintentional injury related death for children under five. Colin was four so, that’s really our target. We work with every age group but that’s our target.
And then here’s what’s so cool you may have seen Water Watcher tags or things like that. This is our version of that, and this little piece here breaks out at the side and there’s a coil wristband. And we use volunteers to attach 75,000 of these every year and we challenge people to be a Water Guardian.
Appoint an adult who is the Water Guardian when you’re in, near, around water who’s actually watching the water. Their eyes are on the water, they’re not distracted, they’re not on their phone, they’re not checking Facebook, they’re not engaged in conversation, they’re not drinking, and they’re actually watching the water.
Because as other people might not know drowning is fast and drowning is silent, and so if you’re watching the water you can see a child get into trouble. You can see if a child falls in, you can see if they’re struggling. You may not hear anything so, if you’re engaged in a conversation, or not looking you can miss a drowning as its happening.
So we challenge people to be a Water Guardian, that’s both being a Water Guardian when you’re at the water and then we also have an online Water Safety Quiz, which I’ll challenge you Eric right now if you haven’t taken it.
Eric: I have taken it.
Alissa: Okay, it’s on our website and its ten questions. Everything from don’t leave a child unattended in the bathtub, to how to get out of a rip current, and you can’t fail it. When we were developing the quiz I took a lot of online quizzes, and I didn’t like the ones where they actually gave you a score. If you didn’t do well it’s sort of shaming, and we didn’t want to shame anyone.
We want to educate people so if you get a question wrong it’ll throw you a ring buoy as a hint, end it with a hint. And then if you get it wrong a second time it’ll just pat give you the right answer and pass you on to the next question. At the end of the quiz you can share it on social media and you can also put in your, we track by zip code, where people have taken the quiz. And so far I haven’t looked at it in the last couple of days but we’re getting close to 6,000 people that have taken it, in at least 29 different countries which is pretty awesome.
Eric: That’s amazing.
Alissa: We’ve had someone ask us, it’s in English and Spanish right now, we had someone ask if we could translate it into Estonian. I don’t know, I don’t particularly have the ability to do that. So if anybody does, but it’s just a free way to raise people’s water safety knowledge levels and get them talking about water safety. And so anyone that we can send to take that quiz is, we’re focused on kind of getting that word out. And working on that and getting people just to talk about water safety.
So during May again, we have a page on our website, we actually have a partnership, we’re asked to be partners in a campaign with FCB Health, which they are trying to bring attention to the signs. And I’m going to see if I can talk about this very simply because it’s a very complicated conversation.
But you may have seen in the media stories about delayed drownings, and secondary drownings, and dry drownings. And a lot of media hype and hysteria is created among people about those terms. And we’re trying to work with FCB Health who wanted to bring awareness to the signs and symptoms of the drowning that occurs after leaving the water.
So we worked with them and they have a website, notoutofthewater.com up. And also working with Dr. Justin Sempsrott who is a very well respected doctor, who is really trying to bring awareness to people to stop using those terms, and really focus on what to look for when any water related incident happens.
Where there are symptoms immediately and then the symptoms can continue after leaving the water. So look for more on that, we’ve got they’ve got, a website notoutofthewater.com and it links to our website to then talk about general water safety. Because that’s something that we really want to keep people focused on, also is what you can do. A simple thing that you can do to change your behaviors around water, because if we change our behaviors around water, we talk about drowning, is something that we all do actually need to think about.
And then we will reduce the numbers of drownings, I mean I know here in Texas were up over 20 fatal drownings of children this year already. And non-fatal drownings, it’s estimated that there are five to six times as many non-fatal drownings for every fatal drowning. And in some cases, the non-fatal drownings result with no injury and we’re lucky.
It’s a miracle and nothing happens, and in other cases non-fatal drownings result in lifelong brain injuries and lifelong challenges for both the child and their family. And we’ve had a number of those here in Texas that it’s just heartbreaking to watch as families live with that for forever. So that’s this is, we’re just trying to get people talking and get people realizing that drowning prevention and water safety is something that they do. It does, they do need to think about it. It’s not something that somebody else needs to think about, we all need to think about it.
Eric: Yeah I mean, Jessica, Curtis and I talked this morning a little bit about the dry drowning, secondary drowning. Raise if you will, and we put out a blog post a couple weeks ago on how it’s not really a thing. It’s kind of this invented, it’s just misinformation.
Eric: That’s been taken by storm, one person published it and they were incorrect in how they described it.
Alissa: And it just keeps going.
Eric: And then it got picked up by, and because it’s terrifying right, the idea that your kid looks fine and then an hour later drops dead, is a really scary message.
Alissa: Right, and that’s not actually the, and actually I wish that I had Justin sitting here Dr. Sempsrott next to me, because this morning we had a really good conversation. I said you need to give the elevator speech because this is really hard and I’m going to hopefully get him and maybe you can get him on.
Eric: I would love to.
Alissa: To give that elevator speech because he knows what he’s saying. And what he was telling me this morning is that, and I say this to people all the time, if you have a, if you hit your head and you think you might have a concussion go to the doctor.
Take your child, I know I’m a competitive athlete and I’ve had multiple concussions throughout my history as a soccer player, and now as an off-road triathlete, and you go and you get you’re on concussion watch. And you get checked out and that’s the same thing that Justin was saying, if you choke on water, you sputter on water, and it continues and there’s anything then you need to go and get it checked out.
Better safe than sorry and beyond awareness for they’ll keep you at the ER for he said I believe two to four hours. And then other things may surface and he was saying in some of those stories, that are put out as dry drownings, or secondary drownings, it was actually not a drowning. It was something else that occurred, and I would let him speak on all of that.
So have him on but it is something that we struggle, the people that are working in drowning prevention 365 days a year to get people talking about, just simple things, every day that they can do. And that dry drowning hysteria hijacks the messaging that we’re trying to push out and it’s really controlling people’s fears around that.
We shouldn’t be afraid to get in the water and go swimming. We shouldn’t be afraid to put our kids in swim lessons because of that. It’s a very tiny percentage of that happened but when you see it go hysterical in the media or on social media or whatever, it’s sort of trying to demystify that for people. Is one of the things that we’ve been actually working on over the last couple of weeks, it’s hard.
It’s hard to battle the mommy blogger who puts it out and it goes crazy. I’m a mommy myself and as a parent you get panicked about certain things. And so we want people to get educated about what they need to look for and what they need to do. And then also just talk about if you’re watching the basic thing, if you’re watching kids around water, you’ll see if something happens and you can respond to it immediately.
Eric: Yeah and I remember a few months ago it kind of hit its peak. But thankfully people like you, and now we’ve tried to do our part. And all of the other water safety folks in the community have done a really good job of trying to combat that. And it seems like the pendulum is starting to swing back the other way where people are learning that dry drowning and secondary drowning isn’t really a thing. There was that great article put out by that nurse I’m not sure if you read it.
It’s amazing but the title is something along the lines of dry drowning isn’t real, there’s no such thing as dry drowning. And she’s an RN; an Emergency Room RN. She breaks down the science of it and goes step by step on how dry drowning isn’t a thing.
Alissa: There’s another article by Dr. Sempsrott is a really really good one too. I haven’t read that one, or maybe I have but–.
Eric: Yeah, I’ll put a link to it in the comments when we’re done, it’s fantastic. It’s so good; she did a great job of explaining it. And yeah so, I think finally it took a second, but we’re starting to do a good job of educating people on the correct side. But it is hard once the cat is out of the bag so to speak, to grab the genie by the tail, and re-educate all those people who read a headline and got scared and they’ve now moved on with their lives, right? Who aren’t in water safety all the time?
Alissa: Right, redirecting them to the basics, and that’s the kind of stuff that we have on the Water Safety card, and on our website. I don’t think you can probably see this, but the little icons are each of our water safety tips. The layers of protection and on our website you can click on each of those icons and it goes into in-depth information on each one.
So if you want a little bit of information you can go on the website and get it. If you want deeper information and articles and links and all of that on anything in particular you can do that. We worked really hard on our website for an entire year to try to make sure that the content was helpful. Make sure that it was correct, and that we linked to other things that were really good resources and not recreate the wheel.
For example, on the wear lifejackets one, we have a link to I think it’s the US Boating Council, on how to properly fit a lifejacket. It’s a video; we didn’t need to do our own video. We can lean on the people that are, that’s their wheelhouse so I challenge people to go take the Water Safety Quiz. To go on our website and dig around and find answers and really educate yourselves about what you can do to be part of this solution. Because I really do feel if we can get people realizing that; a) they need to be part of the solution.
This is not something where they’re like that’s somebody else’s, that’s for somebody else that message is for somebody else, that’s not for me; because if you ask any of the families that we work with and I’m going to extend it for a second.
Alissa: And I have our Not One More Card story cards.
Eric: I love those.
Alissa: If you ask any of the families that are part of the Families United to Prevent Drowning Collective, they didn’t think that this was their story either. They didn’t think they were going to lose or almost lose their children. And that’s something that I know that we struggle with all the time when I talked to parents is, they’re like “oh my child knows how to swim or oh that that’s not us or oh my kids are older”. And I had an interview with a middle school student yesterday who chose Water Safety as her project.
Eric: Oh cool.
Alissa: And so I went and talked to her and it was really fantastic to get to sit with a young person for an hour. And she was a swimmer so that it was something that she was passionate about. And I shared some of the Not One More stories with her, and specifically the ones of the older children. So, of Drennen who was a competitive swimmer, and of Connor, and I told her those stories.
At the end of the interview I asked her, I said “Well tell me what you learned in this? I hope I gave you enough information for your presentation, but what did you learn and what was impacting to you?” And she said, “Honestly when you see the stories and you see the faces and you see the kids it’s so much more real and it’s really impacting.” And I said, “Well you’re right because those are the families and those are the kids that we’re honoring with this work.
Their families have been courageous enough to share their stories so that we can save lives.” But I really think it’s this, is the getting the message, water safety messaging out to everyone is huge in any which way we can. Whether it’s a webcast, or a Facebook post, or an Instagram post, or pounding the pavement at community presentations and things like that, it’s going to take all of us continuing to do this work together 365 days a year.
Eric: Yeah absolutely and when I was talking to Jessica this morning, she had said she didn’t think this could happen to her. She was one of the parents who didn’t think drowning was something that happened to you.
Eric: And obviously now she regrets that, and I was asking her and I would actually pose the same question to you. It’s interesting how we properly, I think assess the threat of say cars, right? You can’t leave if you have a baby, you can’t leave the hospital without a car seat right?
Eric: You would, you’d never put an infant into a car without a car seat. You always make sure your kids have seatbelts; if they’re on a bicycle you make sure they have a helmet. you would never leave a gun out on a counter.
Eric: I mean or even in a house with kids for that matter it has to be in a safe, and with all these other areas we make sure that we have proper safety precautions. But more kids drown than die in car accidents. A child is over 100 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than be killed by a firearm. And there’s way more kids that drown than die in bicycle accidents, but we don’t seem to have the same level of fear.
Eric: Not fear, respect, urgency when it comes to the pool. If I go to my friend’s house and they’ve got, well I would, but if most people go to their friend’s house and they see that they’ve got little kids in a pool and it doesn’t have a fence around it, they don’t freak out the same way they would if they saw infant in a car without a car seat. Even though statistically they’re way more likely to drown in the pool, so why do you think that we don’t have the same reaction to water safety as we do car safety, and bike safety and all those other things?
Alissa: I think it’s time so for example, I’ll be 44 next month. And I know that the way that car seats were thought of when I was a child was very different than how they are now.
Alissa: And same thing with bike helmets, I mean you’ve seen things progressively cultural norms changing. And I think that we’re getting there with, same thing with seat belts. Seat belts in cars I mean it’s taken through the years, those things didn’t used to be like a longtime ago 50 years ago there wasn’t the whole car seat thing.
Eric: Yeah, car seats or seat belts even seat belts yeah, right.
Alissa: Or bike helmets, and now there is. I feel like we’re actually on the cusp of changing the cultural norms. And I talk a lot about that when I do presentations to anyone, to families, to kids, to lifeguards; is talking about that creating a culture of water safety and changing the norms around it. For example, the lifejackets, let’s use that because I’m going to channel Dana Gauge of the LV Project, Connors’ mom right now.
She wants lifejackets on lakes like seat belts in cars, or helmets on bikes, right? And that’s I think, going to take time. It’s a thing where you have to, my daughter just turn thirteen two days ago, and she knows that she has to wear a lifejacket when she’s in open water and when she’s on. We went paddling on Sunday and she had a lifejacket on, and she knows not to argue with me. She still wants to argue with me but it’s I tell her, “If you wear it and your friends see you wearing it and then they’ll wear it and it’s your, we’re going to change the way that people think about it, one person at a time.”
And I think that’s where we’re moving with water safety, I think we’re starting to be loud enough with the national conversation. I went to the Global Drowning Prevention Conference in Vancouver this year and was able to see what’s happening in other parts of the world. And I really do feel like this is, we’re going to see over the next few years. I’m very hopeful that we’re going to see water safety get closer to where we are with car safety, or bike safety. I’m on the board for Safe Kids Austin here, and we talk about all kinds of injury. Childhood injury prevention, safe sleep, safe bike, safe pedestrians, safe cars, all that stuff. And I really do see water safety becoming more of a norm of the conversation, and I think that is where it has to just keep going.
As we’re able to raise kids that have this culture of water safety or that get water safety education very early, then we will start that. Those kids are going to age up; those kids are going to age and become parents. And one of the things that I strongly asked what Colin’s Hope was doing, and that I want to talk a little bit about, is something that we really strongly believe in. So Colin was four, and I’ve said the stat about under five being the highest risk. So we have developed a preschool curriculum for out of the water safety and I’ll just show you. This is a miniature version of what preschool teachers get. It’s a big hand, and it’s the whole hand rules and it’s got these preschool friendly velcro things. And we teach kids, little kids who are four, preschool and kindergartener, basic water safety rules.
So they’re very simple, we looked at a lot of different things that were out there and wanted to find something that was really simple. Kids understand the rules, they understand a hand, and they understand simple directions. So for example, the first rule is wait for a grown-up. Don’t go to the water without asking permission, and you wait for a grown-up simple. Second one is, learn how to swim. How important it is to learn how to swim, and learn how to float on your back, and learn how to get back to the side if you fall in. The third one is about wearing lifejackets, and we talk about what is a lifejacket. What does it look like, how does it fit? It should fit tight like a hug; it’s not water wings and those things. The fourth one is, grown-up should be watching you, and that’s another goes kind of back to the wait for a grown-up. But we challenge kids to respectfully tell their adults, “Hey you’re not watching me. You need to be watching me please keep your eyes on me.” I mean we’re talking to this younger kids to get them growing up with this different culture of water safety and then–
Eric: And that works, I remember coming home and learning about turning off lights or environmental stuff in first grade. And coming home and telling my mom, “Hey you’re not shutting the lights off, you’re not recycling, and you’re not doing stuff you’re supposed to be.” So that making kids accountable for their parents, it works.
Alissa: –and helping them. Oh, and I’ve gotten Facebook messages from people that are like, “You told my child to tell me to get off my phone when they’re at the pool.” I’m like you’re right I did.
Eric: Sure did yeah, definitely I did yeah.
Alissa: And then the last one that we talked to them about is staying away from drains. Because alongside our friends at the ZAC Foundation and Abbey’s Hope, drain entrapment and staying away from drains. And for kids it’s very simple; just stay away from the drains. Each of our little lessons have hand motions and songs, and it’s all preschool appropriate.
But when we talk about raising kids that have better water safety behaviors, and so we just decided we were going to start and just pound the pavement. You see this guy right here? He’s in the process of being created, but this is our new Colin character that will go alongside the curriculum. And he’s not really out yet so, this is just a draft, but we felt like we wanted someone who would talk to kids, and we tested it out with my coworkers little baby.
And he was so infatuated with Colin, and Colin has a sidekick who’s a seal. I don’t have a picture of him, but we’re really working on talking to kids and helping raise up that culture of kids to be more water safety aware. And then we also talked to parents, I mean that the nature of our water safety cards, and our website, and our Water Safety Quiz, is then getting to the parents and saying, “Hey we need to educate the kids.”
And then we also need educated parents, and together we can create that safety net and that’s where we’re focused. I mean this is 10 years of doing this work, and 10 years of finding out, getting people’s attention and doing it in Colin’s honor, and doing it in a way that again the whole Best Day Ever thing. We as an organization we love the water, I love the water, I have a mermaid tattoo which is probably one of those things. This is we love the water, we want people to love the water, but we want them to learn how to be safer around water. And that’s really what all that we’re about, it’s very simple.
We will partner with, we have so many partnerships and I love partnerships, because we’re able to reach so many more people, and we’re able to. We have a partnership right now with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. I’m really proud of that partnership because it allows us to go statewide and we’re small but mighty.
We’re a small organization but we’re going into communities across Texas working alongside DFPS to take our preschool curriculum to Train Home Visitors. They go into homes and work with families around safety things and so we just trained, well we trained 360 home visitors this year to reach close to ten thousand families in their homes with water safety.
That’s the kind of stuff that we’re doing, partnerships that Colin’s Hope has in this building. We have lots of tiny little ones, and then we have lots of bigger ones. And I think that is how working together we’re going to get this. We really can, I do believe that we can change the norms of water safety and cultural norms. And that is what’s going to take the numbers down; I mean we have a vision of a world where no child drowns. We have a big bold goal of ending drowning in Central Texas by 2023.
I will say, I don’t even want to say it out loud, but I will say it because I don’t want to jinx myself. But in Central Texas so far this year, we have not had a fatal drowning yet. And that is awesome, and we want to keep that going throughout the summer. Because it’s already 90 degrees here, but I do feel like together, working together, we can turn the tide on this. It’s a global epidemic but we can do it.
Eric: And I love how you’re doing it from a cultural norm perspective, and a multi-generational way of doing it. Because I think that’s the heart of it, right?
Eric: If you can start training young minds into realizing how important this is, and start changing how we think about water, and how we think about water safety, and how we perceive the pool. And I think if we can start there you can see long-term effects.
Alissa: I think so too.
Eric: And the short-term things for educating parents, and adding layers of protection all that is super necessary. But I think the work you’re doing on a long-term scale, on a larger scale is really important I don’t think that it’s enough people doing it either. So I’m glad that you guys exist because it’s really fantastic.
Alissa: Thank you because I’ll tell you what, prevention work is really difficult. I mean you can, I can distribute seventy-five thousand pieces of educational material and I know that we’re impacting people with our messaging, but you don’t see the ones that you prevent.
Eric: Well it’s hard to qualify that.
Alissa: You don’t know how many lives did we save? I don’t know, with that we are a preschool program we know, we have a Quiz we evaluate it. And with statistical significance we know that we raise kids’ water safety knowledge levels, and because there’s a swim lesson portion that goes alongside it. We know that they’re improving their swimming skills, and we know we’re educating parents. And so we have to just keep doing those things, keep doing more of those things.
Keep; again like you said we’ve, we talked to a lot of grandparents too. And so it’s, I actually love doing that the young children, the parents, and then the grandparents. Because I’ll tell you what, grandparents right now had there been a different thing about association with water, or understanding about the need for barriers and things like that. Because seventy years ago it was even more different than it was fifty years ago or whatever.
So that whole cultural thing is really an interesting phenomenon, if we don’t work the entire spectrum we’re not going to move the needle. And I mean that’s really what we want to do. So thank you for acknowledging that because it’s a very strategic approach for us, and again we’re small I mean; we’re three staff people.
And we’re bigger than we were ten years ago, which was all volunteer and we’re bigger than we were 10 years ago, which was all volunteers. We’re bigger than we were a year ago, but we’re still trying to leverage every resource we can, in every partnership we can, and in every collaboration to get more people listening.
Eric: It’s funny people ask me all the time how many lives we’ve saved with pool fencing, same idea, installed tens of thousands of pool fences throughout the country and in the 15 countries we’re in and the last 30 years and how many kids have you saved? I mean there’s no way to know, right?
Eric: I know that no kid has drowned with one of our fences, I know that. So I imagine that some of those kids may have drowned because–.
Alissa: Is there some sort of statistical calculation that I am not smart enough to know?
Eric: Yeah, me either. So I mean it’s a tough thing to figure out who would have drowned if you hadn’t done something. But you got it, just like you, I have to know that it’s making a difference. There’s no way you can install that many layers of protection in that many homes and someone hasn’t been saved, that would be statistically impossible in my opinion.
Alissa: Right so, yeah so well, thank you for the work that you’re doing.
Eric: Thank you.
Alissa: Because again it’s going to take the people in the pool industry, I know that’s a group that we’ve really started working with whether it’s pool service maintenance providers or pool builders.
Eric: And they’ve really come around, when we first came in business 30 years ago, pool builders and pool service guys, mostly pool builders didn’t want anything to do with water safety or pool safety or pool fence. We were kind of the redheaded stepchild of the industry. The idea of telling a prospective pool customer that your kid might drown in this thing I’m trying to sell you was they thought it would hurt their business.
Eric: But now, pool safety is so prevalent, they’ve figured out that owning it is better than trying to ignore it. And if they add it to their business, and make it a part of what they do they can actually overcome objections that parents might already have. And it might actually help their business to be thinking about safety the whole way through.
Eric: So, it’s a radical it’s a cultural shift like you talked about.
Eric: That’s occurred, and I think it’s for the benefit of parents, and consumers, and pool owners. So it’s really nice that there’s been this change in thinking from the pool industry side.
Alissa: Oh and I and I love to see that, because we have multiple local pool service companies that we work alongside. And we’ve ,when I go speak to their service techs and tell them, and I will credit Jeremy Smith, for who I know you know, for saying this because I channel him every time I talk to pool service guys and gals.
Is that the ability that they have to impact a family because they’re in their backyard and they’re able to see behaviors that could be potentially dangerous. So they’re able to see things like gates that don’t latch, or toys in the pool, or all the things that pool service techs see. And I spent a year cleaning pools helping out a friend.
Alissa: And part of the reason that I did that was to help out a friend, and part of it was because I wanted to see people’s behaviors in their backyards. So that I could better talk to people and say, “Hey that big giant Shamu thing you have in the pool, super fun but get it out of the pool, and get it away from the pool.
The baby carriage that’s right by the pool that you just forgot to bring in, that’s a destructor for a child to go towards the pool” and things like that. And so the power of pool service folks and what they can do to raise their customers’ awareness levels and make their pools more fun too is huge.
And I think that’s we’ve joined hands and arms and whatever with so many pool industry folks, because I believe that again, it’s that more people with this message. And we give them water safety cards and they distribute them to their customers.
And we’ve worked with Latham Pool Products and Coverstar which are big companies, and they have some of our Water Safety cards with their logo on them; they paid for them. And they give those every time they sell a product they give those out. And it shows, I think it shows their customers that they care and so influences them with positive messaging.
So we at Colin’s Hope, we’re trying to be small and use every resource and multiply our resources with partnerships and reach just as many people as we can with as many. The same message, drowning is fast, drowning is silent, and drowning is preventable. Here are simple things you can do, and we’ve put the tools on this website for you, or on this card. But just help us get it out there and that’s you know.
Eric: I’m actually I’m teaching a little pool safety for pool guys’ class tomorrow. We’re giving out free coffee at this little breakfast place, and we’ve invited all the local pool guys there. And the pitch was kind of, if a parent comes to you and asks you as the pool expert how do I protect my pool? Do you know what to say? Do you know the, what I call the five point five layers of protection? Do you know the advice to give them on how to make their pool a safer place for children?
Eric: And if you don’t, are you liable if you tell them the wrong info?
Alissa: That’s awesome.
Eric: So yeah we came up with this idea a couple weeks ago and it’s tomorrow actually. We’ll see how many people show up hopefully at least one.
Alissa: Well just one, even if just one shows up.
Eric: Yeah just one.
Alissa: That’s one more person, so challenge the one person, or the more people I think you’ll have more, but challenge them to go take our Water Safety Quiz too.
Eric: I know.
Alissa: You can create yourself a little hash tag like lifesaver or something, or whatever you want to call it. And then we’ll be able to track in on our Water Guardian wall who came.
Alissa: Yeah I can track it by zip code too, but also I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Nashville Injury Prevention Council?
Eric: I just want to say I’m super, real quick, I’m super jealous of your quiz by the way. I really wish I had thought of that first, I saw it and I was, “Ah that is good.”
Alissa: Well do you want to hear a really quick story of that quiz because it’s really kind of cool. So I wanted the quiz and we got, in Austin we’re a very tech savvy city and so they had basically, what was it called? It was–
Eric: Was it South by Southwest?
Alissa: No, no no no it was, I’m spacing on what it was called. But it’s like a basically a hackathon.
Eric: Okay yeah.
Alissa: And so we created the, I created the content for the quiz alongside experts in each quiz question area. And then we basically had a team of tech guys and gals and they were sequestered in their office building for 24 hours and they created all the backend of the code. The code and all that stuff I don’t know anything about. And they created the quiz for us and then we bumped it over onto our website and launched it.
And so that was probably a very expensive project that did not cost any money for us, other than the hosting on the site. And the stuff on our website because we involved these tech guys and gals and they banged it out over a 24 hour period it was amazing. And that’s been my, that was an idea I had and then it just sort of surfaced. And again we use in any innovative thing that we can, we grab a hold of and try to figure out how to get it out. So, you can be jealous of it. But now you can just help us share it, how about that? And then you didn’t have to do the work behind it.
Eric: Right, no I love it, is a great thing. So you were going to talk about the Nashville injury council?
Alissa: Prevention Council, yeah. So when you were talking about backyard pools so, Kim Hodges with NIPC, Kim lost her son Brandon to a backyard pool drowning and she had created a Backyard Pool Checklist, safety checklist. And we worked on revising it with her.
And in Texas we’ve got O’Neil’s Pools here in Austin, we trained all of their service techs to go do this checklist and it covers, it’s basically the Pool Service Tech goes in, and for a customer and it’s free of charge.
And it’s not an inspection; it’s just a checklist of going through different safety things. Looking at the gates, looking at the fence, looking at the safety of things, there’s some general water safety questions. And the Pool Service Tech does the checklist and goes over it with the customer and the homeowner and just educates them on some things that they may need to do to make their backyard pool safer.
And that’s something that I’m really proud of and I’m proud of for NIPC for getting it out there. Kim’s been training people in Arizona and across the country with that program. So again it’s just that getting as many people to be talking about this, and working alongside each other is awesome.
Eric: That’s really cool and I would love to have her on too. Actually that sounds great.
Alissa: Yeah, well she’s behind the, another commercial message there, Dare to Wear One. And they just released a PSA that is actually on YouTube and I can get you the link and it’s basically tells, its three groups of high-school boys talking about how they lost their friends to drownings because their friends don’t wear lifejackets. So it’s Connor Gages’ friends, Chris Gregoire’s friends, and Jose Servin’s friends.
And now the boys are high school and college age but they lost their high school age friends, best friends, to drownings. And it’s a really powerful PSA. And NIPC, and the LV Project, and Colin’s Hope, and Chris Gregoire Fund they are behind getting that out. And that’s something that I’ll share it with you because it’s a great, it’s pretty difficult to watch. Because you’re watching high school boys talking about losing their friends to something that could have been prevented with a lifejacket.
Eric: Right yeah, there are some great PSAs out there, the Abbey’s Hope one.
Alissa: Oh yeah with the water watchdog that’s pretty epic.
Eric: It is.
Alissa: And hard to watch. I think they produced that last year and I remember, I saw it again the other day but it’s pretty, it’s a really awesome one.
Eric: It’s fantastic, it is hard to watch but it’s really really good.
Eric: So what, if there I mean, I’m sure there’s a few things, but if there was something you think that would have helped Colin what would it have been?
Alissa: Certainly the water guarding, appoint an adult who is watching. Colin drowned in a lifeguarded pool. And I know that with family and friends around, and a busy pool, and everything bad that could have happened did. And I know again its back to that kind of cultural norm changing. I know when I was a kid, I would get dropped off, not when I was four but when I was older, at the pool. And I would spend the whole day at the pool and the lifeguards were the babysitters for, we were early eleven, twelve that kind of age.
But I think people changing the norm, and people’s thoughts around when you go to a lifeguarded pool that you’re still part as an adult, as a caregiver, as a parent you are watching your own children. Lifeguards have a very difficult job and it is very difficult to watch all the water and to see all the things. And to have that job and I trained lifeguards quite often. And I asked a group of 18 year old lifeguards, what was, what’s one thing that you would like me to share with parents and with kids that may come to your pool? And they said please tell people that were not babysitters. We’re trained to rescue but parents need to watch.
And that is probably why we go at the Water Guardian as our primary message; be a Water Guardian. Watch kids around water; keep them in arm’s reach. And certainly that probably would have changed things in Colin’s situation, and in a lot of the families that we work with.
And so we and the Not One More cards, to go to figure out where they were, if I look at Colin’s card, and we did these strategically where it has the story and the picture on the front and on the back is a message from the family. And we have this little talk thing, talk bubble, and in that talk bubble we asked each family to write the one thing that they feel would have prevented the drowning from happening. And on Colin’s it says always appoint a Water Guardian to watch children, even when a lifeguard is present.
So to answer your question, I think the Water Guardian thing and more adults watching that would be our primary message. And we’re now turning the tragedy into triumph, and just really trying to get people to change their behaviors and behaviors are hard to change
Eric: They are.
Alissa: I mean they’re really, they are.
Eric: So when you appoint a Water Guardian or a water watcher is it for the entire session?
Alissa: Oh, good question.
Eric: Is it every 10 minutes, every 15 minutes. I usually say every 15 minutes.
Alissa: I’m going to actually break out the Water Guardian badge from our little thing here and we’ll do a little demonstration okay so the Water Guardian badge so what we say is have one of these Water Guardian tags and whoever is the adult on duty typical lifeguard shifts are twenty minutes thirty minutes.
Eric: Right, are there?
Alissa: And that seems like a really good.
Eric: Yeah, and they’re trained professionals obviously?
Alissa: Right so I mean I don’t know, say let’s pretend we’re at a pool party because backyard pool parties are my worst nightmare now.
Eric: Right, mine too.
Alissa: So say you’re at a pool party and you have ten kids in the pool and a gaggle of adults there. Fifteen minutes, what about putting in a 15 minutes session and that person wears the Water Guardian badge. And they know it’s a signal that they’re on duty, they’re watching the water and in 15 minutes they say, “Hey Eric you’re on duty”, and physically transfer the Water Guardian badge to the next person.
And they’re on duty for 15 minutes and someone’s always watching. I mean 15 minutes you can do anything for fifteen, make it ten, I don’t know whatever is doable for the adults that are there.
But that is a way that you never get your eyes off the water, and you see if something happens. And that’s again drowning is fast, drowning is silent, drowning is preventable, right? So for watching and we’re seeing things and we’ve got kids at arm’s reach. I will never forget this, we distribute again 75,000 of these every year and again it’s that whole thing of are we reaching people?
There are people doing this, someone sent me a text a picture a couple summers ago and it was of a person sitting in a lawn chair at the edge of a pool and they had this on their wrist, and I did the happy dance. I mean it was thank you, people are listening and the kids see it and then they know too that, and again it’s that whole educating the kids to say, “Hey who’s the Water Guardian?” And I’ll say, this will be my message to parents. If your kid is going to a pool party at the end of school because we’re about to have that or Memorial Day or whatever please ask questions.
Please call the parents where your child is going and ask, “Will there be adults watching the water? Are there lifeguards going to be on duty? And are there going to be Water Guardians, adults in addition to lifeguards?”
Because that is something that a lot of people don’t think about I mean there’s a lot of people that don’t even this does not cross their mind. “Great a pool party that’s so great so much fun yay.”
Alissa: And of course.
Eric: They’ll ask if the food is sugar free.
Alissa: Yeah, who’s bringing the pizza, or is there dye in the food, is there whatever? But ask the questions. Ask the questions are there going to be adults watching the water at all times? How many adults? Do you have a system? Can I help? My daughter who’s now in seventh, finishing seventh grade, last year I got the, “It’s the sixth grade pool party email”, which was my worst nightmare.
Because it was a hundred six graders at a backyard pool and I of course did what my daughters were mortified and I just called up the parent and said, “How can I help? Are you going to have lifeguards on duty? Are you going to have adults?”
And there were lifeguards on duty, and I parked myself by the pool the entire time, much to my daughter’s dismay, and was a Water Guardian. Because I know that this is, I wouldn’t have been able to even, she wouldn’t have gone to that party if there hadn’t been appropriate supervision. But we have to ask the questions. And similarly I’ll transition really quickly to this but camps, summer camps.
For kids going to summer camp I usually do a Facebook live about this. So here’s a tease. Ask the camp, call the camp and say, “Hey are kids swimming? What are your water safety protocols? Do you swim test kids? Do you go on open water? Are your lifeguards open water certified or waterfront trained? Because watching open water is very different than watching pool water.
But again it’s that, let’s be proactive as parents, as adults and challenge the current cultural norms, and be the role models. I told that 13-year old that I was interviewed by yesterday I’m like, “I challenge you Kendall to be an example, to be someone who’s doing something different, to wear a lifejacket and change how you behave.” And I think that if we start doing that and we start getting other people to do that, and we start asking the questions. This is what’s going to change our culture around water.
Eric: Absolutely, and I think it’s fantastic on the Water Guardian. And it’s kind of redundant because everybody’s phone has a timer. I once thought about making an app oh I’d like a 15-minute timer on it.
Alissa: Okay so, Eric don’t say anything else. All I can say is you and I are going to work on a project. Because I’ve had a dream app that we’ve had in the back idea board for about five years and it involves something like that. Maybe we can team up.
Eric: Nice, I do too.
Alissa: Because it’s, yeah, I don’t want to say it online because I don’t want to give away our millions of dollars that we’re gonna come into with this app. But I want, we’re on it, let’s talk about it.
Eric: Perfect, I love it so; we’ve been going for an hour already, that’s fantastic. So maybe we can wrap up quickly.
Eric: But what are two things that someone could do right now to help prevent drowning?
Alissa: Okay one, go to colinshope.org and take our Water Safety Quiz and then share it on social media. Also you can go and change your Facebook profile picture to the National Water Safety Month be a Water Guardian one that we have in Colin’s Hope. So, in Facebook you can go on our Facebook page and you can find the link to do that.
But those are two simple things they will take five minutes. And then take and share the quiz, and then change your profile picture and people will ask you about it. And then challenge them to do it, those are simple things. And the third thing, you only asked for two and I know I think I told you to ask me for two. So I’ll add a third one.
Eric: I did, yeah.
Alissa: And that’s just keep talking about water safety. Talk about it with your kids, talk about with your friends. Challenge other people to have this conversation, and then do it in honor of the kids. Please again; this is why we’re doing this work. And we’re doing this work so that these families, and these courageous families who have lost children or almost lost children to drowning. And that they’re using their courage to impact lives, and save lives, and honor these kids. And do this and make this something that we can really shift this culture of water safety and then have the best day ever, right?
Eric: That’s awesome. So if there was some takeaway tips that parents could do to make them, we’re finishing up May right now and then we’re going into June. We’re in prime pool season, some simple tips that parents can do to keep their kiddo safer around water?
Alissa: Sure I’m going to give you actually the five, I can’t do this, five actions that are on the back of our Water Guardian badge; so the first one is assign an adult Water Guardian to constantly watch children around water.
Eric: Perfect, love it.
Alissa: The second is learn to swim, and never swim alone. And that’s anyone of all ages. I can swim, I’ve swam as far as nine miles at one time and I don’t ever swim by myself. So, wear a US Coast Guard approved lifejacket that’s the third one. The fourth you’ll appreciate this one, ensure multiple barriers around water.
So we’re talking about fences as multiple barriers. And then learn CPR, and refresh your skills every year. So our friends at CPR Party, Laura Metro whose son survived a non-fatal drowning, learn CPR. It’s something that everyone should have in their toolbox and kids as young as nine or ten can learn CPR. But why wouldn’t you want to have that in your toolbox? So those are my five actions.
Eric: Awesome yeah, it’s funny I have five. I call them five point five literature protection and they’re similar. You’ve got parent supervision. High locks on all the doors and windows that lead to the pool.
A barrier between the home and the pool like a fence that goes around it, alarms in the pool warning the child or on the doors and windows that lead to the pool. Swimming lessons, some kind of swim instruction knowing how to swim. And the point five because it’s not about their protection but it’s important is CPR.
Alissa: Oh, I love that perfect.
Eric: Thank you, that’s it.
Alissa: Well thank you again for having me it was really fun.
Eric: Alright, actually of course it was really fun. Any questions, anything else you want to say before we go?
Alissa: No, I just want to get people, just keep this in front of your mind and help us keep the message going throughout the– we work 365 days a year but especially this time when we’re about to get people taking to water every single day because it’s getting hotter so, thanks.
Alissa: Yeah and have the best day ever.
Eric: Absolutely, have the best day ever, and then we’re going to talk about that app.
Alissa: Okay perfect that sounds good.