Little 3-year-old Franki was looking at a friend’s new pool with her parents when she tripped and fell in. The shock of the 55-degree water knocked the wind out of her, but Franki quickly recovered and rolled onto her back, then kicked over to the side of the pool, where her parents pulled her out and took her indoors to warm up.

This story could have had a very different ending. But this youngster had received water safety instruction at a swim academy founded by Olympic gold medal swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg, and she knew just what to do when she fell into the pool.

Such stories vividly illustrate the importance of water safety. Indeed, every year, summer kicks off with National Water Safety Month in May, and the message never grows old. But when did this concept come to life, and how can you help get the word out?

As far as I can tell, National Water Safety Month was launched around 2009. It’s a joint effort of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, the National Recreation and Park Association, the American Red Cross, and the World Waterpark Association – and participants include FSPA, Master Pools Guild, IPSSA, Association of Aquatic Professionals, ISHOF and others.

Aquatics professionals are encouraged to spread the water safety message via educational programs and promos, safety brochures, videos and posters, and National Water Safety Month-themed events. At NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org, you’ll find valuable tools, such as the PR Guide, which offers suggestions on how to develop informative fliers, communicate with the media, write a press release, and much more. The Safe Swimmer Pledge, which can be downloaded as a certificate and signed, really gets the point across to young water lovers. It reads: “1. I pledge to never swim alone. 2. I pledge to never play or swim near drains or suction fittings. 3. I pledge to always dive feet first. 4. I pledge to obey the pool rules.”

Many thanks to those caring souls who came up with National Water Safety Month and everyone who brings the message to the public’s attention year after year, all year long.