National Water Safety Month is in full swing. International Water Safety Day came and went, and it’s currently boating Safety Week. But Water Safety Month wouldn’t be complete without talking about the Drowning Prevention Foundation, the first non profit organization dedicated to drowning prevention.
The Drowning Prevention Foundation was founded in 1985 by Nadina Riggsbee. Riggsbee founded the organization after the tragic drowning of her two young children in the backyard swimming pool.
Her children drowned in 1978 when she went out to dinner with her husband. A babysitter was home with the children and opened the backyard door to let the dog out. She didn’t close it properly and the children went out and fell into the pool while she was in the bathroom.
Samira, their two year old daughter, died from the fall. JJ, their 14-month-old son at the time, survived with profound brain damage; he is a quadriplegic and lives in an assisted care facility.
Mrs. Riggsbee turned her grief to serve a better purpose and got the first swimming pool fencing law in the world passed in 1984 in Contra Costa County, California.
The Drowning Prevention Foundation was one of the leading sponsors trying to pass the 1996 California Swimming Pool Act. The act requires that all home swimming pools built in or after 1998 must comply with safety standards for swimming pool fences, safety pool covers, and door and pool alarms.
Since then, the Drowning Prevention Foundation has helped pass drowning prevention laws across the country in addition to carrying out public safety campaigns and water safety programs.
For more information, check out their website at drowningprevention.com.