With the 2012 swim season behind them, officials at one leading drowning prevention effort are looking ahead.
A number of key drowning prevention stakeholders discussed the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely 2013 campaign plans in a late August conference call.
Kathleen Reilly, CPSC public affairs specialist, told participants her agency is committed to continuing the campaign. However, the campaign’s budget limits what is feasible, and funding is not guaranteed until Congress passes a spending plan for 2013, she added.
CPSC will retain the services of Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm Widmeyer Communications; operators can expect that the focus on the learn-to-swim message will not change, Reilly noted.
In 2013, campaign organizers are looking to expand materials offerings based on what’s been successful in the past. For instance, Pool Safely branded minibeach balls were a big hit, along with cardboard fans featuring the Pool Safely messaging, said Kim O’Shea, program manager of USA Swimming’s Make a Splash program.
Reilly said CPSC wants to expand its advertising efforts as well. “Every year for the last three years we have created signs for malls and bus shelters. … This is something that I’d like to expand upon. That’s an area for us to investigate,” she said.
Extending the reach of The Adventures of Splish and Splash also is in the plan. The interactive online game series is geared toward teaching water safety to children. It’s available at poolsafely.gov, and Reilly hopes to make it available via other platforms, including DVD.
Also, a Website update is under way, including better Spanish-language outreach, said Erin Robertson, senior account executive/public affairs at Widmeyer Communications. The action is being taken, she said, because “… we know that Hispanic children drown at higher rates than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Hoping to reach new potential partners, representatives for Pool Safely will attend the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting & Expo in San Francisco, for the first time this month.
“This is the largest gathering of public health professionals in the world, and we feel this is a great opportunity to spread the Pool Safely message to new audiences,” Robertson said.