FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA, February 27, 2012—Public service announcements to educate the public about child drowning prevention will be distributed to TV and radio stations across the nation this spring. Concurrently, early childhood educators across the country will be introduced to a curriculum that teaches young children how to be safer around the water and provides key water safety information for their parents. The initiatives are the culmination of a yearlong effort by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) to help protect the most vulnerable and the most common drowning victim —children younger than 5-years-old.
“These resources have the potential to save many young lives,” said NDPA Executive Director Kim Burgess, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. “We are confident they will be widely utilized.”
Development funding for both initiatives was provided through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to augment its Pool Safely—Simple Steps Save Lives campaign. The CPSC was mandated by the VGB Pool & Spa Safety Act to create drowning prevention public education programs, and the NDPA was one of the contracted organizations.
These initiatives will be launched during the NDPA’s 11th Annual National Drowning Prevention Symposium on March 7 in San Diego, California.
Public Service Announcements and Educational Video
NDPA produced two video PSAs. A PSA with a “Mission Impossible” theme invites the viewer to enter the fantasy world of two young children as they scheme to get a floating toy out of the backyard pool while their mothers are distracted. The take-away is to “Make unsupervised pool access an impossible mission.”
Another depicts a friendly rivalry between two dads over whose pool safety measures are best. The take away is “With layers of protection, everyone wins.”
“These PSAs were designed to be engaging and entertaining, while providing easily understood safety tips,” said Maureen Williams, of Yorba Linda, California, who oversaw production.
The PSAs were posted on NDPA.org and had limited distribution to TV stations in late 2011. Nationwide distribution is planned for March 2012.
In the Simple Steps to Safer Pools video, a firefighter demonstrates safety steps for backyard pool owners. The video can be viewed through NDPA.org, and free copies are available on request.
In addition to the video PSAs, Beverly Payton, an independent PR consultant based in Richboro, Pennsylvania, produced scripts for radio PSAs in consultation with NDPA subject matter experts. They will be distributed to radio station public service directors nationwide this spring.
Preschool Water Safety Lesson Plan
Johnny and Cindy Johnson of Santa Ana, California, founders and executive directors of the Swim for Life Foundation, oversaw development of a preschool lesson plan and the “Safer 3 Water Safety Quest” DVD.
“This curriculum is unique because it is designed for children ages 5 and younger, the age group most at risk,” said NDPA Past President Johnny Johnson. Cindy Johnson adds that many of the curriculum components also work well as stand-alone activities. “Anyone can use the video, workbooks, or activity sheets for children’s safety outreach,” she said.
The preschool lesson plan was created by Catherine Webb, Ed.D., of Tustin, California, a curriculum development specialist. The curriculum has been pilot studied in several regions, and will be made available to early childhood educators in time for summer educational programs.
“This curriculum goes beyond teaching water safety lessons,” Dr. Webb says. “Early childhood educators can feel good about integrating this into their instruction plan because it also supports preschool and kindergarten learning objectives, such as language development, critical thinking, small and large motor skills and others.”
Drowning is a leading cause of preventable death to children under age 14 nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, an average of approx. 550 children ages 5 and younger drowned yearly from 2003 to 2008. One and two-year-olds are the most common drowning victims. The drowning rate declines for children ages 6 and older, but spikes again for teenagers ages 15 through 18.
For further information, email Kim@NDPA.org or call 954.804.4865.
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The National Drowning Prevention Alliance is a volunteer-driven 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004. NDPA members are dedicated to preventing drowning for all age groups in all bodies of water through public education, advocacy and strategic partnerships. The public is invited to join by visiting www.ndpa.org.
Beverly M. Payton