The AAP Experience; Coming Full Circle
Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning's mission is to ensure that every parent is aware of the dangers of drowning. Our goal is to empower PARENTS and equip them with the knowledge needed to keep their children safe in and around water. Sadly, many parents of children who fell victim to drowning say the same phrase: "I didn't know".
Pediatricians are at the front line when it comes to educating parents. They are a constant in the child's life, seeing them grow from 2 weeks to 18 years. They are someone parents trust for information on how to keep their children safe. Our hope is pediatricians mention the threat of childhood drowning and educate parents on prevention at every well child visit. Education needs to be early and often in order to be effective.
Prevention education needs to focus on "Layers of Protection". It is not enough to just "watch your children." Children, especially toddlers, are curious and naturally drawn to the water. They live in a magical world were nothing bad can happen to them. Layers of protection prevent them from making it to the water unnoticed. High quality swimming lessons can give them the ability to self-rescue in the event that they do make it to the water unnoticed. Learning CPR and administering prior to EMS arrival can mean the difference between life and death or severe brain damage. And coast guard approved life jackets on open water are always a MUST.
PPCD attended our first American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference in 2018 in Orlando, Florida. When asked "Do you talk about drowning prevention with your patients?" many answered "no" or "not as often as I should". PPCD ambassadors encouraged pediatricians to educate their patients and parents of the dangers. Several even took home a stack of our brochures to use in their office.
In 2019, the overwhelming response to the question was "Yes!" Many physicians were able to share their drowning prevention plan with us. We discussed with them the importance of this education early and often. We shared our resources, materials and encouraged them to follow up with an Ambassador in their area. We discussed Non-Profit Organizations who are able to help educate and provide scholarships for swimming lessons.
Sadly, we were the only exhibitor dedicated to this cause. They did not have any seminars or speakers dedicated to this cause. There is still work to be done.
At Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning, we are excited for what the future holds. We don't want anyone else to say "I didn't know." We wish to work together as a drowning prevention community to end this endemic. If you are interested in joining us in this mission, or wish to be added to the website or non-profit section, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our News & Stories and let us know if you would like to share your story.