Every spring, Pool Safely is proud to connect with many members of the water safety community at the National Water Safety Conference, hosted by our longtime collaborator, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA). The conference is the nation’s leading annual event devoted to drowning prevention and water safety. In response to growing public health concerns surrounding COVID-19, the NDPA Board quickly transitioned the entire 2020 event to be an online conference. The virtual conference took place April 6-9, under the theme: Drowning won’t stop, so neither will we! This theme truly underscores the water safety community’s tireless commitment to drowning prevention 365 days a year.
Throughout the four-day virtual conference, NDPA hosted more than 60 expert-led educational sessions that addressed diverse topics, including the role of technology in water safety, drowning-prevention efforts at the local level, and teaching children with special needs how to swim. The conference also featured a virtual exhibit hall, where attendees could browse water safety resources, including educational Pool Safely materials that are available to download online.
In addition, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Commissioner Peter Feldman delivered a keynote address to share updates on the Pool Safely campaign and CPSC’s enduring commitment to drowning prevention and water safety education, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Commissioner Feldman highlighted the strength of the drowning prevention community and acknowledged the 14 percent decrease in fatal child pool and spa drownings in 2019, based on media-reported data from the USA Swimming Foundation. He also reinforced Pool Safely’s simple water safety steps and reminded everyone, if you haven’t already done so, to renew your commitment to drowning prevention by taking the Pool Safely Pledge.
Additionally, the Commissioner addressed the expected impact that COVID-19 will have on families in the coming months. With public pools closed, children spending more time at home, and for many adults, who may be distracted by competing priorities, he stressed the need to remain vigilant about water safety, to avoid a spike in home pool and spa drownings during this time.
Other NDPA conference presenters spoke, as well, about the impact of the current public health crisis on drowning prevention efforts, with panelists acknowledging that families will likely be spending more time at home pools and spas this summer. In response, many members of the water safety community are transitioning to find creative ways to bring online education to families.
Thanks to the flexibility and innovation of the NDPA Board, this year’s virtual conference was just as engaging, informative, and inspiring as ever. We value this annual opportunity to share and learn from members of our community and look forward to staying connected heading as we head into the summer swim season and as we continue to work together toward #notonemoredrowning.