Author Archives: Drowning Prevention Foundation

Drowning Prevention Month

letter from the governor drowning prevention


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Office of the Governor

May 2019

Drowning Prevention Month

This Summer, many Californians will enjoy outdoor activities involving water and swimming. Our Golden State has abundant sources of water, including hundreds of miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, beautiful rivers, lakes and aqueducts and communities with swimming pools. I urge Californians to enjoy these resources and the warm weather, while also being safe and vigilant to prevent drowning.

According to the Drowning Prevention Foundation, drowning is the leading cause of injury-related deaths among Californian children ages four and under, with an average of 51 new deaths per year. Children and adults who survive near-drowning accidents often suffer permanent brain damage. The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) currently provides services to 775 survivors of near-drowning accidents who require lifelong assistance for their disabilities.

Knowing how to prevent drowning is a critical step in keeping children safe. Teach them survival skills, ensure they have constant supervision by an adult in and around water, install isolation fencing and alarms around pool areas and know how to respond in an emergency. Basic training in water rescue skills, first aid, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save a life.


Gavin Newsom

Governor of the State of California.


NDPA Conference April 2019 in New Orleans

We are proud to have been selected as a speakers for the upcoming NDPA 2019 Educational Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana!  Our presenters will be giving a 45 minute talk, including a question and answer period, in the Legislation & Codes Breakout Track portion of the event on April 17th.

CA State Senator Josh Newman. While in the CA state Senate Josh was the author of SB 442, and other child, youth and military veteran health and safety legislation.

Catherine Barankin, Executive Director CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health (CCCSH). CCCSH was lead co-sponsor of SB 442, and Cathy was involved in original legislation in 1990s that created CA’s 1996 Pool Safety Act. Cathy is also the lead Technical Assistance and Training Program Administrator for CA’s Dept of Public Health Kids Plates Local Childhood Coalition Development Program.

Steve Barrow, Program Director CCCSH. Steve and Cathy were lead staff behind SB 442 support efforts, and like Cathy, I was involved in writing and advocating for the 1996 CA Pool Safety Act. Steve also serves on CA’s state Emergency Medical Services Commission, which oversees all EMS first responder EMT, Paramedic, Police EMS training, certification and discipline.
Cathy and Steve also serve as state Co-Chairs of CA’s childhood Unintentional Injury Prevention Strategic Plan Project. The Project is the result of more than 70 stakeholder private organizations and several state and national agencies, efforts to end unintentional injury as the leading cause of death and hospitalization for CA’s children and youth through age 19 years old.

Nadina Riggsbee, Founder and President Drowning Prevention Foundation, and co-sponsor of SB 442
drowning safety

Governor Brown’s Spring 2018 Drowning Prevention Message

Last year the Governor signed SB 442 (Newman) updating CA’s Pool Safety Act. SB 442 is a dramatic step forward in increasing awareness and safety of residential pools. We hope you are utilizing the opportunity this bill provides to draw attention to water safety and pool safety. It took a dedicated choir of groups to support getting this bill to the Governor, and with the leadership of Senator Newman the bill was signed into law.
As we all know the passage of SB 442 is only one piece of a larger puzzle of drowning prevention. As the Governor’s letter points out drowning is not just a pool safety issue, it also involves CA’s many rivers, beaches and lakes.
As Johnny Johnson, Blue Buoy Swim School and Chairman of the Board, Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation, and Nadina Rigsbee, President Drowning Prevention Foundation have taught us all bodies of water come with risks, and to reduce those risks, especially for little kids, and everyone else:
·       Learn about water safety
·       Learn to swim
·       Learn proper ways to participate in a water rescue, especially know how to do CPR for a drowning victim
·       Fence your pools and use another pool safety barrier as listed in CA’s Pool Safety Act, to provide layers of protection, especially to keep young children from getting to a pool unless there will be active supervision of an adult
·       Never ever and at no time allow a young child access to a pool or other body of water unsupervised
·       Learn how to properly use a life vest when around open bodies of water
And as Julie and Jonathan at the Jasper Ray Foundation stress, there is no season for drowning, it unfortunately is a year around issue.
Far too many people and young children lose their lives each year in CA due to drowning. Drowning can be prevented.
As the Governor’s letter states it is not only the loss of life, but also the brain damage that occurs when a child, youth or adult survives a drowning incident. As DDS reports there are 748 Californian’s receiving support services through the Department of Developmental Services due to a drowning incident. For every child who suffers a fatal drowning incident, five others survive, but have some level of brain injury due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Unlike broken legs and arms, an injury of the brain is forever.
If you have questions about SB 442 contact Cathy Barankin, Executive Director or Steve Barrow, Program Director at CCCSH at or
The Drowning Prevention Foundation joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centralia Unified School District at a first-time family clinic on the grounds of the San Marcos School. The Buena Park, CA event focused on swimming pool safety/drowning prevention, nutrition, cancer prevention, and a number of other health and safety tips and resources. Clinic and school volunteers also staffed kids’ crafts and healthy snack stations.