PPCD Ambassadors; Let's Get Started!
Updated: Mar 10, 2019
Dear PPCD Ambassador,
Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to go out and promote drowning prevention in your area. We are so happy to have you onboard! Speaking to pediatricians and other members in your community can be intimidating, but it is necessary in order to bring awareness to this issue. Educating people on the prevalence of drowning and measures needed to protect their children is our focus. Education does not need to be only parent specific; as grandparents, aunts, neighbors, teachers, etc. are all instrumental in taking care of our children and protecting them every day. As an ambassador, we will supply you with an embroidered polo shirt and plenty of pamphlets to get you started. The following is an example of what you can say when you speak to people and a few helpful hints to help you along the way:
An example of an itinerary may be:
· Introduction of self
· Introduction of PPCD
· Share your story of why this cause is important to you
· The mission of PPCD
· How you can help us with this mission
Hi, my name is --- ----- and I am an ambassador of Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning. (Share a quick sentence about yourself- for me “I am a mother of 4 children and work as a full-time registered nurse). Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning (PPCD) was formed as a project by several existing 501(c)(3) and individuals invested in bringing awareness and education surrounding drowning prevention. PPCD has since then invited other non-profit organizations devoted to drowning prevention, as well as parents, health care providers and swim lesson instructors, to join us by becoming an ambassador. Joining together gives us the ability to branch out at a higher level and impact the nation. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in children and is currently the leading cause of death in children aged 1-4 per the CDC. We believe that ensuring adults receive adequate drowning education will help to change this statistic that have been stagnant for decades.
Most parents of children who lost their lives to drowning say, “I didn’t know”. They did not know the prevalence of drowning, or the measures needed to be taken to prevent it from happening to them. Most parents will say “that will never happen to me because I am a good parent and I watch my children.” But the fact is, most victims of drowning come from stable, healthy and loving environments in which neglect did not occur. It has also been noted as a common theme that pediatricians are generally not providing drowning prevention education to their patients during well checks. A nationwide survey conducted by Live Like Jake found that 85% of parents did not receive any preventative education on drowning from health care providers. Just like car seats, seat belts, and helmets, drowning prevention should be discussed. By encouraging pediatricians to stress the importance of drowning prevention at each visit, starting a birth, we believe that parents will be adequately educated to do more to protect their child. Drowning is preventable.
(This is a great place to share your own story of why this mission is important to you. People can relate to actual stories more so than statistics. See my story below as an example.)
PPCD encourages parents to implement place layers of protection. Simple steps can save lives:
1. Constant Supervision- always be vigilant when watching your children around water
2. Water-Watcher Badges- teach parents to assign someone to be a water watcher at all time when a group of children are swimming. Take turns and be free from distractions.
3. Pool Fences- all pools should have a 4-6 foot fence with self-latching gates, separating the pool from any accessible areas including the back door and windows leading to the pool
4. Personal Water Immersion Alarms or Surface Alarms- add another layer to alert the caregiver that a child is outside of in the water.
5. Learn CPR- providing CPR while waiting for emergency medical response can be the difference between life and death.
6. No Dog Doors- remove all pet doors and make sure your door leading to the pool is secure with high locks that are toddler proof.
7. Skill the Child- equip children with the skill to roll on to their back and float unassisted and independently. This is the self-rescue survival skill that may save the child’s life if the other layers of protection break down.
8. Coast-Guard Approved PDFs- when on open water
We ask you to please keep these pamphlets in your office waiting room (lobby, emergency room, place in labor and delivery discharge folders for when the baby goes home, send to your home owners insurance clients, display when selling a home with a pool, etc….. the locations are endless!) and give them to parents during well checks. We ask you to please discuss drowning prevention with all parents as this education needs to occur early and often to be effective. Spreading this message will save many lives. It already has. Please join us in the mission to end childhood drowning.
Thank you (always thank them for their time).
Ideas of who you can present these pamphlets to:
Family Practice offices
Public Health Departments
Home owner’s insurance agents
Rental Home Management companies
Additionally,many venues will give you an opportunity to reach parents, grandparents or friends of people who have children or have pools. Encourage people to talk about this as our entire culture surrounding water safety needs to change in order to save lives. If you are interested in speaking in front of groups, please consider: infant and child CPR classes, new parent classes, breastfeeding support groups, etc. Most hospitals provide these courses. Let us know if you need help finding one in your area.
Community events, such as farmer’s markets, will allow you to set us a table and provide information to people walking by. In this situation, we can supply you with a banner to draw attention. Here, you can talk one on one with people about the importance of water safety and hand out pamphlets.
Again, thank you all so much for your involvement in this national effort. The more awareness and education we bring to this cause, the more lives that will be saved.
PPCD Founding Member
*My name is Jenny Bennett and I am a founding member of PPCD. I am a registered nurse and I have spent most of my career working in emergency rooms. There, I have seen the sickest of the sick and people whose lives are forever changed by a sudden unexpected accident. As a mother of four, I want to do everything I can to protect my children from danger. I have invested in the best car seats, stair gates, outlet covers, toilet locks, cabinet locks, and more in my home to keep it safe for my children. The winter of 2014, I gave birth to my third child, Jackson. We had recently moved into a home with a pool and getting a pool fence was on our list of things to do, that had not gotten done yet. We thought, as long as he can’t get past the back door, he will be safe. We also had a dog door. We would keep it locked and only unlock it if we left the house for extended periods of time. The summer of 2016, Jackson was 18 months old. A perfect, smart, social, very busy boy who kept us all on our toes and loved to go swimming. That spring, we had enrolled Jackson in parent child swimming lessons, so he would be comfortable in the water to swim with us that summer. We wanted him to feel safe and have fun, as our pool was a place we spent a lot of time as a family.
One evening, my husband had gotten off work after I had been home with the kids by myself all day. Being a full-time nurse and having three children is exhausting; I asked my husband to watch the kids for a few minutes while I laid down to rest before starting the kids sometimes hectic bedtime routines. I went into my first-floor bedroom. He thought Jackson went upstairs with his sisters to play, as they typically did. A few minutes had passed, and I had an uneasy feeling. Jackson, who normally filled the house with laughter, was silent. I popped my head out of the door and asked my husband about Jackson’s whereabouts. He said he was playing upstairs. I accepted that answer and went to lay back down. Another minute had passed, and the feeling returned. It was almost as if something was yelling at me to go get Jackson. I came out the room and asked where he was, we yelled up the girls, but Jackson wasn’t there. It was at that moment that I realized I had forgot to lock the dog door. Praying that he didn’t notice as he never had once gone through it or even played with it before, I ran outside straight to the pool. I found him in the shallow end, floating face down in his red “I’m on Team Dad” shirt and khaki shorts. I jumped in the pool and pulled him out. He was limp and not breathing, but his lips were pink and his capillary refill was brisk. I started CPR, hoping I wasn’t too late. My husband, who followed me outside, called 911. The five minutes it took for the paramedics to arrive felt like an eternity. We ended up taking him to the emergency department I worked at. Surrounded by my work family, he was stabilized and flown to a children’s hospital downtown. Four days later, he was declared brain dead. Three days after that, I gave him one last kiss as we donated his organs, saving several lives.
I had spent two years thinking about all the mistakes I had made. Some weren’t so obvious at first. The parent child swim lessons were water acclimation classes and did not teach him any respect for the water. If anything, these lessons reinforced that the pool was a fun safe place that he had fun times with his family. They even encouraged children to jump in, but never taught them how to float to save themselves if there were to make it to the pool alone. Jackson also wore a puddle jumper floatation device about 90% of his time in the pool. I thought this device was keeping him safe and allowing him to float around the pool, which he loved. However, wearing a floatation device did not allow him to experience his own buoyancy and trained him to float in a vertical position. A position that is not sustainable with life. We had a dog door, and even though we attempted to keep it locked, human error failed us, and it was unlocked that evening. We didn’t have any other layers of protection: no fence, no additional locks, no alarms.
Even though we had many friends and family come to our house to swim, no one ever mentioned that we needed to do more. Our pediatrician never asked us about our pool or educated us on drowning prevention measures. I strongly believe that if I would have known what I know today, Jackson would still be with us. If I had him in survival swimming lessons, he would have come back through the dog door in soaking wet clothes. If we would have had a pool fence, he never would have made it. That is why it is so important for me now to spread this information and educate others, so they do not have to experience the pain of losing a child.