Filling The Information Gap: Teaching Parents About Water Safety

Episode 6 August 17, 2023 00:50:05
Filling The Information Gap: Teaching Parents About Water Safety
The Water Safety Podcast
Filling The Information Gap: Teaching Parents About Water Safety

Aug 17 2023 | 00:50:05


Show Notes

Jonathan St. Clair, co-founder of the Jasper Ray Foundation, joins hosts Adam Katchmarchi and Alissa Magrum to share how his own personal loss led him to become a Water Safety Champion, the significance of addressing drowning misconceptions, and the importance of exposing children to water at an early age.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:01 N D P A presents the Water Safety Champion Podcast. Speaker 2 00:00:10 And welcome back to another episode of the N D P A Water Safety Champion podcast. I'm Adam Kemarie, the Executive Director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance. And joining me today, another, the other half of the water safety odd couple. Alyssa Gram, welcome back to the podcast. Speaker 3 00:00:27 Hello. Thank you. It's good to be here again. Speaker 2 00:00:31 I just had Alan Corn on as a guest, uh, not too recently. So, uh, I love this. You know, one day we are gonna get the full water safety odd couple to join, um, a Water Safety Champions podcast. I think it'd be a fun, it Speaker 3 00:00:43 Would be fun. It would need to be a lot longer than 45 minutes, I think, because the three of us, uh oh, I know, just alone could fill up that space. I know Alan and I struggle every time we do an odd couple with keeping it in some sort of time box. Speaker 2 00:00:58 Absolutely. Well, um, let's get right into today's guest. Uh, this is a guest Alyssa and I are both familiar with. I know many people in the water safety community. You're also familiar with, uh, Jonathan St. Cla, the co-founder of the Jasper Ray Foundation. Welcome to the podcast, Jonathan. How are you? Speaker 4 00:01:13 I'm doing great. Thank you so much. I'm glad to be here. Speaker 2 00:01:16 Well, thanks for joining us and Jonathan, we'll get right into the discussion. Same question we ask all our guests at the beginning of the podcast. Uh, what is your water story? Speaker 4 00:01:26 Well, uh, you know, my water story started at a very young age. Uh, grew up in the northwest and had a lot outdoor water activities. And, uh, typically as a young child, we started, uh, water skiing was probably the first thing I can remember. Uh, you know, kind of diving into as far as an action sport. And my first, uh, my first introduction into Life Fest, actually, I can remember as a kid, you know, sitting on the back of the boat trying to get my life vest on and figure it out. And back in those days, there weren't as many different sizes were, nor were they as, uh, as, you know, good of a life vest as what we have available now. But I can remember being able to, you know, finally get my life vest on and hop in the water and it would bunch up over my neck and, you know, not gonna be very, really all that, uh, comfortable until you got pulled out of the water and get going. And, uh, and then the advent of the wakeboard, uh, when I was a kid, actually, the surfer was first, uh, I think, I wanna say that was probably in the middle, in the middle of the, uh, eighties or so. Speaker 3 00:02:38 What was it? What did you say? The surfer, Speaker 4 00:02:40 What is that prelude to the wakeboard. And it, it basically was just they, uh, a small surfboard and they had put straps on it and like foot straps to try to basically create like this fun, fun toy. And then, uh, and I'd say probably about 87, 86, 87, they, uh, came out, hyperlight came out with the first wakeboard, and that was like the new cool thing to do. And I, I can remember, you know, I was about 12 or 13 years old at that time, and all our friends, you know, we all had boats and stuff, and that was like the coolest thing in the whole world to be, you know, like stepping into a new thing that hadn't been introduced yet. So, I mean, growing up as kids, I mean, we'd be out on the water from sun up till sundown. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, doing that and inner tubing and all kinds of things. And, uh, I would say, you know, that was probably my introduction to the, to the fun side of water sports. Um, as far as like learning to swim, I can recall, uh, in our town, which was pretty small, we had, uh, the Lions Club, believe it or not, had an indoor pool with, uh, a high dive and two, uh, low, like, I don't know what they would be like, uh, six foot diving boards, I guess. Speaker 3 00:04:01 One meter. Speaker 4 00:04:02 What's that? Speaker 3 00:04:03 Probably one meter because like three meters the high dive. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:04:06 Yeah. And, uh, and it was a heated indoor pool, and we grew up in the Northwest, so I mean, it was open year round. And I can remember my mom, uh, you know, taking stuff and doing charging swim lessons, which was probably, I, I would say I was around four or five. And I think that was rather common in those days. It, most kids, unless you had a swimming pool, didn't really learn to swim until they were probably kindergarten age. So this could take them to the pool and drop 'em off, you know, for a few hours while they're running errands and that type of thing. But yeah, I think things are a lot different now. Mm-hmm. Speaker 3 00:04:44 <affirmative>. Speaker 4 00:04:46 So, Speaker 2 00:04:49 So, um, you know, Jonathan, let's, I know you and your wife Julie, are very, very involved in water safety, you know, both at the local level and, you know, you're both working, you know, in a way at the national level. And, um, you know what, uh, you know, can you share a little bit about Jasper's story and what got you guys involved in water safety? Um, you know, 'cause uh, you know, we know you lost your son Jasper to a drowning, but, um, you know, it's so rare, you know, with the number of families that we see getting involved in this space that, you know, families choose to get involved in the advocacy and prevention work. And you and Julie have just been amazing champions over the years at making sure other families are aware of this information. Speaker 4 00:05:31 Well, I think, uh, to start out, uh, Jasper was 21 months old. Uh, it was March 19th, 2014. And, uh, my wife and I had, you know, I had gotten up that morning and, you know, kissed him goodbye and said, we'll, see you, see you when I get home tonight and off to work. I went, and Julie had started about the same time on nine o'clock had dropped, you know, our 19 year old babysitter who lived, be beside us, uh, watched him one day a week and came over to, uh, watch him for the day while Julie went off to work. And at about 10 15, uh, Julie got a call from her that she had found in, in her pool. And in addition, uh, they were taking him, you know, he was in the ambulance going to Chalk and which is the children's hospital of Orange County here. Speaker 4 00:06:29 And we, uh, Julie immediately called me right after that phone call and, you know, in hysteria telling me that, you know, they had found Jasper in the pool. And I, my recollection was I couldn't remember what pool that would even be because we don't have a pool mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it had been very, very hot that day, even for March that week, that previous weekend. And we actually had our little kitty inflatable pool up that he was playing in. And, uh, I was thinking, there's no way I left that sitting there. I know I had turned it over and dumped out the water. And she said, no. She said they found him in, in their pool. And I was like, oh God. And I remember, uh, I remember thinking to myself, how in the world did he get over there? Because, you know, she's was specifically told not to take him over there because we knew that there was an unfenced pool and that, you know, what could possibly happen did happen. Speaker 4 00:07:30 So she evidently, uh, went to the restroom for a few minutes and left, uh, left him alone playing in the living room. And he got up and walked through an open door in the master bedroom, which led out to the backyard pool. And we assumed that he was probably trying to get one of the pool toys out of the pool and fell in fully clothed. And of course, he did not know how to swim at that age. Uh, he was actually just about ready to start swim lessons, which we thought was early for us. Uh, but he was gonna be starting in about a month. And, uh, evidently, you know, they, she walked out. She, you know, the first thing she did was not check the water. She's running around the house, checking everywhere else. And she walked out into the backyard and saw him in the pool and immediately started screaming. Speaker 4 00:08:23 And her grandfather, who lived next door was the next fireman and came out and drug him out of the pool. And they started C P R and of course called 9 1 1. And it only took a couple of minutes for the paramedics to get there 'cause we're not too far from the fire station. And they rushed him to chalk. But the total amount of time down was around 50 minutes, which is an extremely long period of time. Uh, they tried to get him back at the hospital, and by the time I had gotten the call and gotten to the hospital, which was only about 10 minutes from my office, um, I remember coming into the er and at that moment, they had just brought him back within 15 to 20 seconds before I walked in. So, uh, I knew that the prognosis was probably not gonna be very good just because of the amount of time that he was under. Speaker 4 00:09:16 But at that particular point, we were pretty hopeful that, uh, that he was gonna be okay. You know, I mean, we're sitting there praying that, you know, it wasn't too long and so forth. And it turned out, you know, as, as time went on that day, um, they came in and gave us all the results and told us they were gonna have to do MRIs to be able to figure out what exactly they're gonna be able to find out for sure. But their overall prognosis was that it was gonna be pretty bad just because of the amount of time he was without oxygen. So, um, for us, we couldn't believe what happened. We were sitting in the hospital there, and from, from our hospital window, we could actually see our house, which was only about a mile and a half away. And I remember both of us just sitting there thinking, how, how in the world could this, you know, could this have happened? Speaker 4 00:10:13 We, we took every parenting class there possibly was. We tried, you know, basically anything that popped up, we read if there was anything else, you know, including, uh, water safety. And evidently it clearly wasn't enough, because I think had we had more conversations with our babysitter, uh, we would probably have been able to instill and impress on her that it was just not a safe place for her to, to take him. And, you know, that isn't what happened. So as we were sitting in the hospital, we decided, you know what? There is no way we're gonna continue doing, you know, we have no idea what's gonna happen at that point, whether or not he was gonna live or die. But one thing we knew is that we were, we were definitely gonna try to figure out something to, uh, help out in this, you know, arena of drowning prevention. Speaker 4 00:11:14 And I thought one thing that we were very mistaken on was, I, I remember verbally talking about it in the hospital that, you know, this can't be that big of a problem to solve if, you know, I mean, this happens quite a bit, you know, we're looking up statistics and you know what, we'll just jump right in. We, you know, we're two parents that are type A personalities, we can solve this problem. And that was about the farthest thing from reality. Um, after everything pa you know, after Jasper passed, and as a month or two went by and we started, you know, looking into setting up a 5 0 1 C three foundation and, and, you know, getting a foundation up, up and running, we realized that there not only how many drownings there were, but how many people are already in this arena, uh, working on water safety. Speaker 4 00:12:02 And I think what staggered us the most was how in the world are there so many people out there working in water safety? And we didn't know anything more than what, you know, basically making sure that locked the toilet seats and you know, all that, you know, bathtub and all those kind of things. But there are so many more aspects to drowning prevention that we didn't know that really we thought we should. And we do live in an urban area with plenty of pools. So I think, you know, that was for us the beginning of what has been a nine year road to, uh, helping prevent or helping to make the attempt to prevent surroundings throughout our country. Speaker 3 00:12:50 Well, I I just wanna say Jonathan, like this is, I think I met you and Julie like pretty soon after you came into this space. And just a thank you for your courage to be in this space. I mean, I think this is of the podcast that we've done. I think this is the first one that we've done with a parent. And I know for me, my journey in water safety has been alongside so many of the parents in the Families United to prevent drowning space. And the courage that you guys have to share your story and Jasper's story and be in this space to keep doing the work to make change is just huge. And I just wanna, I just wanna say thank you for all of the people that can't be in this space, because you and I have had conversations, um, around like, not everybody can be in this space. Speaker 3 00:13:44 Not every parent or not every family member who's been impacted can be in the space. So I, I just, I wanna honor that for a second and then, you know, and it's been a really, a huge, um, a huge honor to watch you both in this space and what you are doing now and having been in here for a number of years versus when you first came in and what you're doing in California and what you're doing beyond. So, um, you know, I just, I, I, I wanna take the time to, to say, say that to you while we're, we're staring at each other, but this will be an audio thing, but it's, you know, you both are amazing in what you've been doing and continue to do in Jasper's honor and celebration of his life. Speaker 4 00:14:33 Well, thank you. I feel, uh, I feel fairly honored in so many ways just to be part of a group that, um, our, just like us mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, throughout, you know, with the group of Families United, it, it's been really great to be able to have a support group of a very specific group of how, how we deal with drowning in general. Because one thing, you know, we went to a support group meeting, uh, just a general support group meeting, and I felt extremely out of place right after that initially happened, uh, because so many of the other parents were, uh, people, um, that had lost a child to a drunk driver or to a drug overdose, or to a suicide or, uh, to any other, to a cancer, to leukemia, to any other form of a child drowning. And I remember thinking, this is not really gonna help me. Speaker 4 00:15:36 And shortly thereafter, uh, someone in the, the Drowning Prevention community contacted us and we all got, you know, we got together with, uh, the Orange County Fire Authority p i o person, and, uh, started talking about, you know, what, what we, you know, what we can do. And I think for both Julie and I, my wife, it was an avenue that we could easily relate to. But immediately when we kind of jumped in and started being around everyone else that had gone through this already previous to us, it was a huge relief to know that we weren't the only ones that had had, uh, you know, the loss of a child through a drowning. And what was even more interesting is to find out how many different ways within that space children can drown. There isn't just one, I think that's where the door really flew open and we were like, oh my God, there's, there is so many ways that children can drown that are different, and how, how are we not hearing about this on more of a public platform? Speaker 4 00:16:52 And I think for both of us, it was just a, a real eye-opening experience to feel like, you know, we have to do something. We are the people that can do something. And the sad thing was we were, we were childless at that point. We didn't have another child. He was our only child at that point. And I think, uh, the, the anger and frustration side of our grief cycle popped out and probably worked to our benefit at that point with being able to find an avenue to like help release some stress of trying to figure out what we can do to, you know, make this better. And, uh, it's, it's, it has been a very interesting road, but it, I have been very thankful to have all of the people that we've come in contact from the lifeguard associations to the fire department chiefs all over the country, and through all of the people within the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and, and the United Families United Group. Speaker 4 00:17:57 And I mean, it's been a really huge blessing for us to be able to have this forum for us to be able to talk about it and, and really inspire moving forward and make some change. Which I think I have, I have seen a lot of change in the last nine years since we started this. And I, I feel really confident about where we're going as a, as a country moving forward with drowning prevention. And hopefully there is more talk publicly about it. I think that's probably the biggest issue that we're running into, is that people just don't wanna talk about it. So, Speaker 2 00:18:36 You know, Jonathan, one of the things, and I have this come up all the time when I talk to people about water safety and something, you know, quite frankly, we as N D P A put into our messaging is there's no one single way, you know, as you have already brought up, kids are drowning in so many different ways that there's no one solid single way where I can't just make this one recommendation to parents and say, if you do X, your child will not drown. Right. Um, and I think that makes it hard from a communication standpoint. 'cause we, as you know, humans, you know, frankly don't like challenging things and drowning is, is challenging. Complex. Speaker 3 00:19:13 It's complex and challenging. Speaker 2 00:19:15 Yeah. And yeah. And I, you know, and, and that's, I think something that we are getting better at, not just N D P A, but the whole cause of messaging out. Look, there's not one single solution, but there, there are preventable steps a family can take to make sure they're safer around water. But, you know, the reality is there's no way to create a safe environment around water. Um, you know, and, and to me, I think that creates that added challenge of pushing that message out. And I think the other challenge is, um, and Alyssa, you and I have talked about this on the podcast already, is, you know, drowning is a multi-sector problem where we have, you know, Jonathan, you mentioned the firefighters, the paramedics, the, you know, the pediatricians are included in this, um, lifeguards aquatic facility, public health, like Speaker 3 00:20:03 Caregivers, babysitters, nannies like that. There's, Speaker 2 00:20:08 And being able to get the correct message out to everyone, but, you know, structure this in a way where it's easily understandable, you know, quick. I guess my point here is we are getting better at advancing that. Um, but I have to give my own separate, uh, thanks than Alyssa gave because, you know, uh, Alyssa and I have said this a a lot over the years, is we can go and talk about water safety all day long. I can give a four or five hour lecture on water safety, but I may not convince anyone in the room that that a this is going to happen to them. Because what we find with drowning, and I'm sure you've experienced this too, Jonathan, is the it's not gonna happen to me attitude. Speaker 3 00:20:46 The them, it's a them thing, not a not a me thing for a lot of people. Speaker 2 00:20:50 Yeah. And, and you know, I always think that, you know, folks like you and Julie in our Families United group, and really any family that's willing to stand up and talk about this, who's been experie, who has experienced a, a fatal drowning, because the reality is, you know, you can turn to a parent and say, look, I don't want this the same thing that happened to, to me to happen to you. And that is such a powerful thing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, you know, I think that too, you know, has advanced drowning prevention in a way where I, I don't think those of us, um, who are just advocates and experts in the space could do. And I think that true partner with a lot of the family foundations, including yours, and Julie's has really helped elevate this message nationwide. Speaker 4 00:21:38 I agree. Well, thank you. I, I think, uh, I, I wish more of more parents, uh, would be able to step up and talk about it. I think more of a do can make that, that bigger difference. Right. You know, quicker. Um, one thing I can easily attest to also is that I think the, the reason that so many people don't want to talk about drowning prevention at all is the same reason that any parent that's lost a child, uh, to a drowning, is that they are having to look at a mirror in some ways where they're, they're staring down the worst possible thing that could, that either could happen or did happen for the parents that lost a child. Oftentimes, you know, in our years of experience in this, that it's usually a, you know, either a grandparent or parent most of the time that's watching the child, and therefore there's an enormous amount of guilt that happens, which really shouldn't be there, because there isn't a single parent that I have met in all these years that has ever said anything other than, I wish I would've known more about this. Speaker 4 00:22:55 Because when you ask a parent, you know how, you know, what do you do? You have a swimming pool? Yes, we have a swimming pool, and well, do you have a fence around your pool? And oftentimes the answer is no. But we watch our kids all the time. And that answer is probably the most scary for us, because that is physically impossible. And I know my experience without even having a pool, that there have been several circumstances where I have been scared to death that I walked away for three seconds, three feet around the corner in the hall to change the laundry in the, the laundry room while a child is in the swimming or in the bathtub. And for just a millisecond. There's no noise. And you think, oh my gosh, I literally just went to push the start button and you come back in and of course everything's fine. But that millisecond of a gut drop that you feel is exactly how when you talk to a parent who has not lost a child to a drowning in that blink of a moment, they almost get it and don't want to hear anything else about what we have to say. Speaker 3 00:24:11 It's so interestingly in one of the podcasts we recorded earlier, we were talking a lot about where shame and blame and guilt play into preventable things. And, um, I'm a big Brene Brown supporter, and she's, I dunno if you know who she is, but she has this whole thing around shame and blame. And I have wanted to have a conversation with her because of exactly what you're talking about is how do we get people to listen, and how do we turn off that thing that seems to happen with people when they don't wanna look at it like, oh, I'm a good parent, or, oh, I'm a good, I, I watch my, and that whole thing that people do like that is a blockade to them getting this message. And in a way, it's, it's, it's, I mean, I think that's what you're, you're saying and, and people think that they're, they're not, this is not gonna be their reality. And Yeah. Gosh, it's so complicated. People are complicated and people are also human. Speaker 4 00:25:13 Yeah. I mean, I think that's, that's just the reality of it, is that we are all human. Um, we as parents absolutely try to do every single thing you can to make each <inaudible>. And it's really interesting to me when we, when we have, when we run into these roadblocks, so to speak, where, I mean, I, like I said, there isn't a single parent I've talked to that's lost a child that doesn't go back and think about what we could have done differently. I mean, Julie and I for years have gone back and said, you know, we should have told her we should have been more emphatic. We should have had different conversations with the parents. We should have had, everything was a, we should have, and we should have known. But the reality is that not, the reality is that there isn't a single parent that's gonna know everything about how to Right, right. Speaker 4 00:26:05 Especially the first one. Um, I think you're, you're so enamored with just, you know, this beautiful little life that came into the world that you're, you're all you're doing is try to do it right. And, you know, you always hear the adage, you know, from a parent who's had four children, they're terrified and, you know, hovering over the first one, but by the fourth one, they're giving 'em knives to play with. You know, it's, it's kind of not quite that obviously not that reality. But the thing is that you kind of settle in, you know, and you become a better parent, you know, with each child. And it's just, it's so, it's, Speaker 4 00:26:43 It's such a misconception that this can't happen to you. And or worse it happens to other people until it's, until you are the other person. Yep. And I feel like, you know, when, when I talk to other parents who've lost a child, that, you know, to whichever type of drowning circumstance happened, when it's one parent to another, the, the love that, you know, the loss of the love that happened that day, you know, that no matter what they did wrong, and I mean wrong by the choice we made to, to do something different that minute mm-hmm. <affirmative>, their whole question, there was intent. I mean, there just isn't people, I mean, parents are not like that. There, there is no way that anyone obviously would want their child to drown. But I think we just we're not hit with enough information to make it repetitive. Speaker 4 00:27:52 And I, I mean, I know growing up when I was a kid, there wasn't a single pool that had a fence around it. I had a friend with an indoor pool, and all of the bedrooms were around the pool with a sliding glass door that walked out to an open pool. And I'm thinking about, I, you know, I use this analogy when I'm talking to people sometimes that I just cannot possibly imagine in today's world that you would, that that would ever happen. But it does. I mean, it actually does. I have <crosstalk>, uh, after Jasper had had drowned that bought a home here in, uh, Newport Beach area that had an indoor pool that they had to remodel, and they were going to be having a newborn in like four months. And I thought to myself, please tell me that you are going to upgrade this pool. Speaker 4 00:28:48 You know, 'cause I, I mean that's just, that's even worse than having one in the backyard, frankly. 'cause it's just inside the house. And I remember having extensive conversations, you know, with the father about, like, you know how, 'cause I remember him asking, what do I need to do to make my pool safe? And I was like, there is no safe, there is only safe because you have a pool inside your house. It's going to be difficult to keep that pool very safe. And so, of course we went down the laundry list of actual safety devices in addition, you know, swim lessons at birth, basically. But it, uh, I, I mean, it, it's really interesting to see how, how we as parents, you know, change mindset. But, you know, in our world recently, it feels like we keep, you know, year over year we're making more headway with, you know, more, more information getting to younger children at a younger age, which I think in our opinion is probably gonna be the, the fastest and easiest way to change the overall cultural aspect of drowning itself. Speaker 4 00:30:01 Um, I think the misconception, we always hear this, that drowning, drowning is silent and it is silent most of the time. Drowning victims aren't making noises. They're not splashing, they're not, and the, the reality is when you're around, like, let's say you're just in your home and the door's left open and they're going out, you know, you live on a lake or a river and they're gone for one minute, that's more than enough time for them to get to an open water source and fall in. And it's, you know, of course, Memorial Day weekend just happen. And all I've seen come through my email and newsfeeds are, um, the drownings that have happened around this country in so many different ways. And a lot of 'em specifically are open water. Yeah. And you hear about it just, and most of it is either they weren't wearing a life jacket or, um, their parents. One, one case was the parents were putting everything back in the car and they were leaving Speaker 3 00:31:02 Some time Yep. Speaker 4 00:31:03 Turn around and, and, and, and we're talking about seconds. It wasn't, and once again, they're, they're not doing anything other than just being a parent. But I think that if we can, as, as a collective group put drowning prevention to the front of the, the line of things that we need to do to, to protect our children and, and kind of change that cultural stigma almost that happens with drowning itself. It's almost like, I mean, I remember nine years ago there was, people were bad parents If they, if they had a child that had drowned, it's like, no wonder we have a problem with nobody wanting to speak out about this. I mean, they're, they're basically shunned and tossed aside and cast out as horrible parents because, you know, their child drowned under their care. But the reality was that, I don't know a single parent in my lifetime that hasn't had what I would call a close call with a drown. And I'm like, theirs were just, theirs just went that extra five seconds that everyone else is didn't. And I'm, I, I have to make a, a massive effort to change that mindset. Speaker 3 00:32:18 That's, it's interesting because in this space, as a, as you know, Adam and I are advocates in this space, and I think we both, at least I know I can speak for myself, have become huge protectors of the you in the equation because I, I know I represented, you know, the Holst family and Collins family for 13 years, and how many times I had conversations where people would say something and I would defend, I would literally bow up like a mama bear and be like, you absolutely need, there is no space in this for blame or whatever. And bring it back to exactly what you're saying is we've all, I as a parent, you know, have had a close call around water with my child who's now 18, and that was like, this is real. And people need to like Yeah, go ahead, Adam. Speaker 2 00:33:05 Well, I think, you know, one of the challenging things, you know, a parent doesn't know what they don't know. Right. And I think that's often the challenge with drowning is, you know, we've tried to been working with pediatricians Right. To try and get them to talk more about childhood drowning risks. And I mean, my God, drowning is a single leading cause of death for children ages one to four now, and we still can't get some pediatricians to talk about. Speaker 3 00:33:29 Right. Better be on top of their list. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:33:31 And it, and it's, it's not that they don't want to or they don't care, it's just they have so much they need to get through in a defined period of time. And, and water safety's not easy. It's likely to lead to 15 questions about swim lessons and proper barriers and everything else. Right. But, you know, I think that's the thing. You know, we always say that I didn't know factor is, you know, and one of the ones we hit on is 70% of these childhood drownings are happening during non swim times. And you know, Jonathan, that was, that was Jasper's story right there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, he was not expected to be in or around the water. And it's attractive, it's an attractive nuisance. And you know, this, this sounds a little bit crude, but this is what our chief medical advisor, Dr. Julie Gilchrist, you know, just admits is like, Hey, even if you're a parent that you say you watch your kid all the time, well, when do you go to pee then? Or when do you like, right. Go to Charlotte. Speaker 3 00:34:22 That's the human, the human factor. Like for real, like, yeah. Speaker 2 00:34:27 Um, but Jonathan, with a little bit of time we have left, tell us a little bit about the Jasper Ray Foundation. What are your activities and what are you guys trying to accomplish? Speaker 4 00:34:36 Well, our, uh, since Jasper was only 21 months old, and, uh, what we found out rather quickly in our world was that we weren't getting, we as you know, young parents and, and parents with young children were, did not get the information we needed. Um, I really feel like we, we would've probably paid, paid attention to information that was given to us about, you know, the specifics of drowning. And so our organization, uh, was started with the intent to help children and advocate for children ages zero to five. Um, we really quickly realized that, you know, it was the number one, uh, killer for children ages under five. And we're, you know, we're not in a unrealistic world thinking that we're gonna make that number zero. But, um, I think that we will, our goal is, you know, year over year to see the number decline. And, Speaker 4 00:35:37 Uh, we, believe me, we are not the only people in this space. Um, we have been able to, you know, partner up with numerous other foundations that are all doing the same thing. And, and really one thing I've been very thankful for is that none of us in this space have been so guarded with our materials and our, and our story and everything else that, that we're not willing to share that with someone else. Because I think for us, it's, you know, trying to create new content and, and especially a lot of it's trial and error. Some of the things that we've done worked and some haven't. Um, we are, you know, throughout the, the course of the last nine years, uh, one major part of what we've worked on is some legislation here in the state of California, uh, which was getting two barriers, uh, two barrier law, uh, which we were able to get, you know, to help and participate in, uh, in 2017. Speaker 4 00:36:37 And that law took, took effect in January, 2018. And I know that both Florida and Texas have been working on the same thing. And we're hoping, obviously, that throughout, throughout the next decade or so, it would be great if we can get the majority of our states to sign on to, to a similar type, uh, type plan. Uh, we do believe for sure that, you know, it's not the only way you're gonna keep your child safe is, you know, preventing them to fall into the pool with two barriers. But it is a really good start. And I think, uh, you know, if we can continue going, you know, along with that and, you know, changing the mindset of everybody, that it's, that it's okay to see a pool fence in your backyard. And, you know, I know it's may not be the, the most beautiful thing to look at, but it, I'll tell you the, the least beautiful thing is a child floating in your pool. Speaker 4 00:37:28 Um, so I know that it's, for us, that's one, one big aspect of what we've been working towards is not just legislation itself, but the awareness of, you know, being able to put these barriers up in your backyard because they, they are statistically without a question, they do reduce your, your percentage of a possible drowning. Uh, the second part is swim lessons. Um, I think the, the biggest thing that we advocate for with almost every single parent that we see with a young child, and usually I ask is, you know, are your kids in swim lessons? And oftentimes they say no, and it's an easy follow-up question with why not, and or a <laugh> variation of that anyway. But I think that, you know, a, a lot of times when that question is posed to a parent that doesn't have their kids in swim lessons, their response back most of the time is, I didn't know that I could put my kids in swim lessons at two or, or six months, or, you know, and I think that was even our misconception. Speaker 4 00:38:33 I had, you know, my, my thought was if we put 'em in by two, you know, we're all, we're, we're ahead of the game. In reality, that's not the case. And I actually had the affirmation just last night. Um, our daughter who started in swim lessons six months and is now almost seven and a half, went to, uh, try out for a swim team, and along with her friend, who for quite a while, and both of them jumped in the pool. And before they had even finished, you know, they were required to do the, the four strokes and in a certain period of time and things. But before they even made the first leg of the first lap, the person that was standing there told Julie that, she's like, they've been swimming for a while, huh? And Julie said, yeah. And I don't think they knew the whole story or anything, but by the time they were done, uh, the instructor or coach, you know, they got out of the pool and they were like, oh, they're, you know, I don't remember the whole conversation, but it was, it was, the fact was that they were more than skilled enough to join the swim team at the level they were trying for. Speaker 4 00:39:45 In fact, they were talking to 'em about joining the, the higher level because their skills were so good. And the only way that happened was that our children were in the swimming pool at a very, very, very young age. And one thing that we learned and have continued to learn, which is really easy to tell other parents, is your child will not be scared of the water. If they're in the water early. They'll learn to respect the water, but they won't be terrified of it when they're jumping in. You know, you take a five-year-old that hasn't been in the water at all and expect them to jump in and, you know, swim. There are immediate fears that come up for that child. And I guess that's probably one of the biggest things for us is, you know, to get parents to acknowledge in that space that they can, that it's okay to get my kids into swim lessons. Speaker 4 00:40:39 And when you start talking about the statistics of the advantages of swim lessons early, it's not a very hard conversation. And then at some point, usually it does come out that we lost our child. Mm-hmm. And then all of a sudden the, the look on that parent's face changes, and the conversation took a real nice turn for the most part, where instead of me just being a parent, telling another parent, it's a, not just a parent, but an advocate that someone else who lost a child to it, that their, their reality of why they need to put their child in swim lessons came full circle in, in a matter of two minutes. And it's really neat to watch them physically turn around from a conversation at that point, walk over and sign up for swim lessons. And it's just, uh, it's neat to see that, you know, transpire in such a way. Speaker 3 00:41:39 Well, and I know you're, I, I know of an example of something that you guys have just done, um, that is sort of walking the talk around the earlier information is I know that you're supporting some of the work that our friend Kim Schultz with Face and Water Swim Kim is doing around creating materials for parents around getting babies acclimated to water in the bathtub and things like that. And so I do think that those pieces that you guys are doing through the Jasper Foundation are going to save lives and reach people where they need to be reached. Um, it's just, it's, it's really been amazing watching you guys from a little bit from afar on the journey. Speaker 2 00:42:25 You know, and one thing I have to toss out there, you know, and, and just because, you know, of course I represent the N D P A, and we're all about collaboration in this space. And I think, you know, Jonathan, what you and Julie have done with the Jasper Ray Foundation is a perfect example of how, not just at the national level, but at the local level, that alliance is critical. Right. You know, you guys have partnered with swim schools, you have partnered with, um, you know, pediatrician groups, fire departments, like you guys are actually in the community making those connections. And, you know, you're in Orange County, California, which is a hugely populated, um, I don't know if there are an, any empty open fields left in Orange Counties. But, um, you know, it, to see those connections, I mean, that's really what needs to happen at the local level to really make that impact, because it does take all of us. Speaker 2 00:43:13 So we've said, you've already said it, hitting parents with this message time and time again. And almost like at every angle a parent turns to, whether they're, you know, talking to their firefighter or paramedic it, their child's school, or whether they're, um, you know, it's a public health P s A or whether they're in their pediatrician's office, or whether they're signing their kids up for swim lessons, they're getting hit with that importance of water safety and the steps they can take, uh, to make their family safer. Um, just for time purposes, because I know we are running, ask him the Speaker 3 00:43:43 Question. Ask him Speaker 2 00:43:44 Question. I I, I'm gonna ask Jonathan, our ever famous question on the Water Safety Champion podcast, which is, Jonathan, I am handing you a water safety magic wand. You can change one thing, big or small. What would you change in water safety? Speaker 4 00:44:00 Um, I think I, I briefly said something about it earlier, but I think the one thing that would make this such a much easier avenue to, to pave the way that we can get the information out, is the stigma is to change the stigma of drowning itself. If we could change the way that we as a society view drowning as a whole across the board on any level, when you talk to somebody about drowning, I, I would love to see, have a conversation with somebody and not have there be the immediate defense mechanism that comes up. Um, I have a small anecdote about this, and it will more or less tie this together of why we, I feel like this is probably the biggest thing that would make it easier for us to prevent drowning. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, four weeks ago at a water safety event, uh, Julie was talking to a group of parents and they were coming up to the booth and talking about, you know, all the different things. Speaker 4 00:45:06 And this woman walked by, and then she came back and turned around 10 minutes later and walked by again. And there didn't happen to be anybody at the booth at that moment. And so Julie stepped out and stopped her and asked her a question of, you know, I noticed you've come by a couple of times, you know, I, did you have any questions or anything? And the woman said, no. And Julie said, well, do you have, do you have a, a pool? And she said, yes. And, but she was rather hesitant to say yes. And then immediately, you know, the second question is, do you have a fence around your pool? And she said, her, her response, which is what scares me the most and why I feel like we've got to change this, this narrative of drowning, is she said, no. And Julie said, why don't you have one? Speaker 4 00:45:57 And she said, because we don't have to. And I thought, wow. And Julie asked her again, and she said, yeah, we bought a house that's old enough that we didn't have to put a pool or a fence around the pool. And I thought, Ugh, wow. Like, and she's holding her two year old, holding her in her hands, in her arms. And I'm thinking to myself, you know, as Julie's telling me this interaction she had, and I'm sitting here thinking, this is the problem. This is the whole problem right there. And she was immediately on the defense about, and, and, you know, she, when the conversation was happening, she had to be thinking as she's standing there staring at a banner of the loss of our child and the story that's right in front of her. And to not recognize that that happened to someone that she now knows that she had spoken with. Speaker 4 00:46:58 And I felt like she walked away that day and didn't get the message. And I thought, but her, you know, as angry as I was about that whole interaction, I realized later in the afternoon that day that that is what happens across this country as a whole. We as people have not made this, this accessible enough and, and made it so not such a negative and, and non non-issue for most people, which God forbid, I hope it's not for most people, but it does happen, and it is now the number one killer for children under five. So until we start recognizing what, how we can change that perception of drowning and what we're gonna do about it, we are not gonna change the outcome down the road either. So my answer is emphatically the information needs to be brought to people in a way so that it doesn't make them feel shamed. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I, I hope, I hope that we're able to get there sooner than later. Speaker 2 00:48:12 Yeah. Well, Speaker 3 00:48:13 Wow. Speaker 2 00:48:15 To me, that just goes to show how important the way that we message this subject. Yeah. I, Speaker 3 00:48:20 I was about to say that. It's the, it's the what is the information, and then it's how are we putting the message out so we can reach people and people and not shut them down and, and so that they can be open to hearing it. And it's, it is a, we're figuring it out. I think we're getting, you know, Speaker 2 00:48:38 I get that question all the time. I mean, you know, we, we put a lot of time and effort into our messaging and, you know, and not just the crafting of the message and the words, but how it's presented, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the visuals that go along with it, all of that. And, you know, people ask, you know, you know, is it that, is it really that hard where you need to invest that kind of time? And, and the reality is, yeah, it is. Yes. If you want it to be effective and reach, you really do have to think about those things. Um, well, Jonathan Alyssa, I know we could probably carry on this discussion for so long. And Jonathan, um, you know, just as friend to friend, thank you so much for your willingness to always share Jasper's story and the work that you and Julie do. Speaker 2 00:49:17 Um, it is truly saving lives, and that is one thing we often remind ourselves is it's really hard this time of year because we hear a lot of the tragedies, um, but we have no idea how many families we're actually impacting and keeping their children safe. So thank you for all the work that you do. Alyssa, my friend, thank you as always for, uh, being a co-host on the Water safety, uh, champion podcast and for all the work that you do. Um, and to everyone listening, tune in, uh, for our next episode. They'll be dropping here shortly. Stay safe this summer, and, uh, we'll see you on the next episode of the N D P A Water Safety Champion podcast. Speaker 3 00:49:52 Thank you both. Speaker 4 00:49:53 Thank you.

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