Make Pool Fences the Norm in Home Renovation TV Shows to Help End Childhood Drowning
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Dear HGTV, TLC, and National Association of Realtors,
I witnessed a child drown. It was fast, it was silent, and we never imagined it would happen. By the time we realized what was unfolding, it was too late.
I have since thrust myself into the drowning prevention world, surrounded mostly by bereaved families who are forced to relive their nightmare daily. The harsh truth is tragedy-stricken families have been doing this work for decades and yet, I never knew the intensity of the risk until a child drowned in front of me. We need to change our culture, and we won’t be able to with the same platform that continues to fail the nearly 1,000 kids who drown each year in the United States. Half of these children are less than 5 years old and most commonly drowning in pools when they were in the house and not expected to be near water. A toddler can drown in 30 seconds and never be revived.
Drowning is the number 1 reason a healthy child will die before they reach kindergarten, and we need your help.
Reality TV shows have fundamentally changed how our culture approaches home buying and home renovating. HGTV alone has over 95 million viewers. Homes across America now feature granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and even shiplap, trends all stemming from TV influencers. I can’t help but wonder, “What would happen if self-latching pool fences were the new trend?” How many families would be spared the grief of finding their child submerged, lifeless in the water?
I recognize it is not intentional neglect on the part of any major networks or realtors, but the systematic oversight of pool fences in home sales and renovations is irresponsible. A four-sided fence separating a pool from the house and yard can reduce the risk of drowning by 83%.
Here is what we beg of you:
- Make pool fences a non-negotiable in the budget for any homeowner. Kids drown in their neighbor’s pools too.
Every time a family with young children purchases a home with a pool, consider sharing this PSA from the American Academy of Pediatrics featuring my friend, Nicole Hughes, who bravely faces the world to fight for other people’s children after losing her own son, Levi, to a pool with no fence.
(They also have a 15 second version available).
Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for children ages 1-4 and #2 for 5-14. You have a platform to reach millions and a responsibility to prevent these tragic deaths for generations. Thank you for your consideration.
mom, teacher, and witness to tragedy
with support from her friends at Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning:
Nicole Hughes, Levi's Mom
Jenny Bennet, Jackson's Mom (pictured)
Keri Evans Morrison, Jake's Mom
Jennifer Witmer, Zane's Mom
Sophia Brizeus, Soraya's Mom
Kristina Andrews, Kourtney's Mom
Deonesia Grays, Bria's Mom
Heather Spurlock, Steven's Mom
Carmen Glasser, Co-Founder of NonProfit Swim Safe Forever
Liz Huber, Founder of the CAST Water Safety Foundation
Tina Whitehead Baron, Swim Instructor and Owner Little Otter Swim Academy
Kasey Newlon, ISR Swim Instructor
Lisa Adams Bolin, ISR Swim Instructor
Karen Tillis Faust, ISR Swim Instructor
Tracy Wheeler, ISR Swim Instructor
Lauren A Wilt, ISR Swim Instructor
Beverly Sack, ISR Swim Instructor
Ellen Rome, MD, MPH, FAAP
Head, Center for Adolescent Medicine
Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital
Not a single pool fence installed, several removed, even in homes with swing-sets: https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/outdoor-remodel/before-and-after-swimming-pool-transformations-pictures
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