Pool safety education will get a nationwide boost next spring,
thanks to the combined efforts of two child safety groups.
The boards of Safe Kids Worldwide and the Home Safety Council have
begun officially merging. Next spring, the new combined
organization will launch a campaign to educate consumers across the
country about the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act,
and related pool safety issues.
“In the coming year, you’re going to see a lot from us
regarding the VGB Act,” said Mitch Stoeller, president/CEO of
Safe Kids Worldwide. “We’re gearing up for a major
[pool safety] education program this spring.”
The two groups have applied to the Consumer Product Safety
Commission for grants to support the new organization’s
campaign. More than $1.2 million has been awarded so far, according
to reports by CPSC.
“We’re joining together on a much stronger push to
educate homeowners and parents, and prevent childhood drownings and
near-drownings,” Stoeller said.
“With our combined resources, we have the ability to get this
message out to almost every city in the nation.”
In the past, the efforts of both groups have focused on a variety
of industries, from home construction to automobile safety. Certain
members of Safe Kids Worldwide, however, have been particularly
outspoken about their advocacy for the VGB Act. Foremost among
these was Alan Korn, the organization’s former executive
director and general counsel, who voluntarily stepped down from
that post in April 2010.
The Home Safety Council, meanwhile, has spent years developing and
publicizing a comprehensive set of residential safety standards,
including a detailed list of safe practices for in and around
“One thing that we’ve lacked at Safe Kids was a robust
safety program, and the folks at the Home Safety Council will bring
that expertise to us,” Stoeller said. “What we bring
are our coalitions.”
Those grass-roots safety advocacy groups form more than 600
chapters throughout the United States.
They’re composed of thousands of volunteers from all walks of
life who work to raise awareness about child safety.
The coalitions also distribute safety devices such as smoke alarms,
bike helmets and child car seats for free.
In July 2010, Safe Kids worked with CPSC to create nationwide
public service announcements addressing pool safety. The following
month, the Home Safety Council partnered with CPSC to hold a
Webinar for fire and emergency professionals, in which they were
taught a variety of techniques for preventing child
Looking forward, the groups hope the Safe Kids coalitions will
enable them to reach an unprecedented number of consumers with
practical information about how to stay safe — and keep
children safe — around water.
“I think merging will strengthen their ability to deliver
their safety messages and education programs, said Kathleen Reilly,
a public affairs specialist at the Consumer Product Safety
Commission. “This seems like a win-win, for both the
organizations and the public.”