Safe Kids Worldwide: Affecting Change To Prevent Childhood Injury

Episode 9 August 17, 2023 00:47:32
Safe Kids Worldwide: Affecting Change To Prevent Childhood Injury
The Water Safety Podcast
Safe Kids Worldwide: Affecting Change To Prevent Childhood Injury

Aug 17 2023 | 00:47:32

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Show Notes

Adam Katchmarchi and Alissa Magrum talk to Morag MacKay, Chief Research and Network Officer of Safe Kids Worldwide, about misconceptions around childhood drowning and injury and how to speak to the masses about the critical need for action.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:01 N D P A presents the Water Safety Champion Podcast. Speaker 2 00:00:10 Alright, everyone, welcome back to another episode of the N D P A Water Safety Champions podcast. Adam Kemarie, the Executive Director of the N D P A. Uh, joining me today back is my, uh, somewhat consistent guest host. We, uh, have had to bring in, uh, Alan Korn. So I've got the other half of the water safety odd couple. Alyssa Gram. Welcome, Alyssa, how you doing today? Speaker 3 00:00:33 I'm great. How about you? Speaker 2 00:00:35 I'm great. Where are you sitting at today? I get to see where you're at, but, uh, tell, tell the audience where, uh, where you're at today. Speaker 3 00:00:41 I, well, I'm in Estes Park, Colorado on a little, uh, journey to visit my parents. They were on a road trip, so I am actually sitting out by the pool and the mountains. You can't see them, but are in the background. But I got the okay from the pool people that I could set up shop here. I felt like it was appropriate. Um, so I've got, they do have proper safety equipment and fencing, by the way, just in case you're wondering. And the gates all self closed, self-lock latch, all the things so, oh, felt good about, I felt good about sitting here. Those are river that's rushing behind me, which is a little bit terrifying, but, Speaker 2 00:01:17 Well, I don't know about you, Alyssa. Those of us who travel a lot in water safety, we often check the pool. That's the thing that Allison and I do every <laugh> trip. We're time we have to go check out the hotel pool. And it's good to hear. 'cause sometimes we find like some things that we go to the hotel staff and they're like, oh, we didn't even think about that. So it's good to hear they have all those things in place. Um, I am super excited today. We, uh, for our guest, um, we've heard a lot about the up, uh, forthcoming US National Water Safety Action Plan. Um, it is gonna be due out here very soon when this podcast airs. And a name that I think a lot in the community to become familiar with is Morag McKay, who is the chair of the US National Water Safety Action Plan. She has been faithfully guiding the ship for the last, oh gosh, I think Morag, we were supposed to be two years. We might be at four and a half now. But, uh, yeah. Um, I'm really excited, I mean, seeing all the work that's gone into this plan. So I thought it was a perfect time to get Morag on the podcast and learn a little bit about her and her journey being a water safety champion. So, welcome to the podcast, Morag. Speaker 4 00:02:21 My pleasure to be with both of you today. Speaker 3 00:02:25 I have to say something really fast before we get started, so I'm really excited to get to be the co-host for this because, um, you know, more ag is with Safe Kids worldwide. And I have been involved with Safe Kids Austin for my entire water safety career. And I'm currently the board president of Safe Kids Austin. So, safe Kids is a very, um, it's a space that I love. So I love getting to be part of this one. I'm glad Alan didn't get to do this one, because I know he has a longer history with Safe Kids, but I, I want on this one, <laugh>. Speaker 2 00:02:51 Well, and, and Morag, you know, you, I, I introduced your role with the action plan, but Alyssa introduced your role with Safe Kids and you are the chief research and network officer. So, um, I often wonder how people in the water safety space are able to, uh, do all of their jobs. 'cause many of us wear many hats. But Morag, you are one that I rank up there right? With me. I don't know when we sleep at night, but, um, uh, it's amazing, uh, the work you put out. So let's get right into your story, Morag. Um, so the same question I ask all the guests. What is, uh, Mora's water story? How did you get started? Speaker 4 00:03:23 So, I think I have to sort of start off by saying it's very ironic that I work in children's safety mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because I was the child in my family that went to the emergency department so many times, or had so many incidents occur during my childhood. I'm, I was an adventurous kid, I think was part of it. But one of my stories is that I think I was about three and a half or four, we were visiting family up in Northern Alberta, and they all swam in this river where there was a big bend in the river. So the river slowed down shallow, and it was a great place for families to go. But of course there was, you know, no lifeguard, no barriers, no nothing. It was just sort of a bunch of families showing up and swimming. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and I, um, followed a ball into the water. Speaker 4 00:04:06 Um, and it, it basically, I followed it, it floated, and I went out my depth. Um, I didn't panic. I actually have a memory of kind of looking around underwater 'cause it was a really cool riverbed and just sort of, sort of just, I have that flash. And then I was plucked out and people were screaming and panicking and, and I had this like, oh, reaction to that. Um, so, uh, uh, one of the adults in our group noticed what happened and plucked me out of the water, but I associated that panicked. And you would, you know, they were, they were worried that I had swallowed way more water than I had. But anyway, it just left this impression. And I didn't really interact that much with the water again, because I was afraid of it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> until second grade, where up in Canada, everybody got swimming lessons, but most of my classmates could already swim at that point in time. Speaker 4 00:04:59 And I was in the group that had the least ability. And basically, you know, my memory of those swimming lessons once a week for eight week period or something like that, was they gave me little arm floaties. And I floated around in the pool, I learned to put my face in the water blow bubbles, but I did not really progress at all to learning to swim mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then it wasn't until I was, um, I don't know, I must have been a couple years later, a neighbor had a backyard pool and, and I went over to play and, and the father said, do you swim? And I said, no, not really. He said, well, we're gonna change that. Um, and so, um, gave me some swimming lessons. Got me comfortable. I'm not a good swimmer. I am not a strong swimmer, but comfortable enough that I could, you know, continue. Speaker 4 00:05:44 And then my love of the water is not actually being in it, it's being on it. Um, growing up in Canada, canoeing, kayaking, I love paddling. So that was where my passion, you know, and the sun shining on the water, and you just imagine the scene. It's just, you know, Canada has some beautiful water waste to paddle on. So, um, that's, that's where my personal passion came from. I think, you know, I, I started doing child safety. I've been doing child safety for about 30 years now, and drowning has always been one of the leading causes of, of fatal injury in kids. But it wasn't until I started the work that I did with the European Child Safety Alliance over in Europe, um, where we were doing these report cards on each country in terms of their response to child safety issues. And almost every country had terrible marks when it came to water safety. Speaker 4 00:06:39 Like in terms of comparing it to what they were doing with child passenger safety, or what they were doing with poisoning prevention or fire prevention. Drowning was, you know, really limited. Um, and we were looking at, um, you know, what sort of, um, national policies were in place, including did they have some sort of an action plan to address the issue. Um, but one of the things that we looked at was how many of them required swimming lessons for kids as part of, um, schooling. And I did an in-depth dive into that and saw some of the really interesting issues, which are actually reflected in some ways here in the us mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, yeah, we have a policy, but we don't have the budget to implement it or Yeah, we have the policy, but we don't have access to pools. So we do some, um, dry land water safety training, but we can actually do the in pool piece. Speaker 4 00:07:32 Um, and then there were some stellar examples, like the Netherlands, who have this amazing swim program. It's a, they call it swim diploma. And kids go through three levels and they encourage, and they, like, it's just within the culture. And so they, they learn, and again, they've got, um, canals everywhere. So it's kind of important that kids learn how to swim. Um, they also have coastal waters. But the interesting thing was that many years that program built up after World War ii, and it just became the cultural norm. But as they had new immigrants come into the country, it wasn't the cultural norm for those. Mm-hmm. So you started seeing, um, an, uh, you know, an increase in their drowning numbers because it is people coming from a different, um, part of the world that are not as familiar and have not been in, you know, indoctrinated into this Yeah. Speaker 4 00:08:23 Water safety culture yet. Um, and so it, it made me realize that, you know, one of the things that we deal with is, um, context is so important in terms of where we live and what the water risks are. And, um, if government is not really paying attention and funding, um, things that are, I guess, funding commensurate with the risk, right? Hmm. Um, for me, that's, you know, the other one coming to save kids about seven years ago and, you know, starting to look at the US data. Um, 'cause I started my career in Canada, then Europe, and then here in the US and realizing that, you know, drowning again, leading cause not just of injury death, but when you look at the one to four year olds, actually mm-hmm. <affirmative> leading cause of death in this country. And I was like, this is, we need to be addressing this. Speaker 4 00:09:13 Yeah. Um, and so that's sort of what's led me to become passionate about water safety and then coming here to the US and joining Safe Kids worldwide. And, um, you know, I think one of the challenges that we've had as an organization is we have historically, for the most part been corporately funded and engaging with a corporate funder to fund drowning prevention has been, you know, for a couple years and then off and on and off and just not consistent mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so, um, that really has presented challenges in some ways. And I think, you know, ultimately for me it was like, okay, so how do we start to change this? Mm-hmm. So I was invited to represent Safe Kids on Water Safety U S A. Mm-hmm. And back in 20 17, 20 18, we started having discussions around why wasn't there a more coordinated approach to try and change things. And so that's sort of why I landed and, and why I am now involved in, in the US National Water Safety Action Plans development. Speaker 2 00:10:12 So, I, I have to ask you, Morag, um, what did you do in Canada to start out your career? Why the move to Europe? And then I'm gonna follow, follow that up with why the move to the US Yeah. <laugh>. Speaker 4 00:10:23 Yeah. Okay. So <laugh>, I started out, um, as, as a nursing student actually. Um, and I asked a lot of questions and I drove everybody crazy because I would ask, why are we doing it this way? Um, and because some, some things just didn't, didn't make sense. And I was told, what, we've always done it this way. And that to me was not a fair enough answer. I had a father who always said, ask questions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so I've always asked questions. Um, so, but it did lead one of my mentors at the time to say, I think you need to go back to school and get a graduate degree. And I think you're perfect for research because you were just asking a lot of questions and you can help people answer those questions. So I went back and I did, um, a master's in, um, medical science with a specialization in epidemiology. Speaker 4 00:11:08 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I started out working in cancer prevention. Um, but the thing with cancer prevention was you were intervening now, but you wouldn't be preventing those cancer, they won't show up for like 20 years. Whereas when I fell into injury prevention, which I did, thankfully, literally <laugh> literally, yeah. <laugh>, um, uh, there it was like, you can make a change that immediately reduces the risk and immediately has a chance of, you know, um, keeping someone safe from whatever it is. You know, in this case, injuries are what you're trying to prevent. So I, I love that aspect of it. But the really interesting thing, um, that happened before I took a job, um, I took a job at, to be a surveillance coordinator for one of the provinces up in Canada. But a couple of months before I did that, I went to a conference where, um, uh, a gentleman who we call the grandfather of injury prevention in Canada was giving a presentation. Speaker 4 00:12:06 And he gave this amazing presentation about this emerging disease that was happening, um, that was epidemic proportions, that we knew how to prevent it, but we weren't investing in those preventative measures, um, that it was impacting this proportion of families in the country. And I was just on the edge of my se coin, what the heck? Um, and at the end of it, he introduced, um, the issue to be child injury. It was the first time in all of my education that I'd really, really been exposed to it. Um, and I just, I think that lit the fire a little bit. And when this position in, in one of the provinces came up to be, um, uh, um, surveillance coordinator, I thought, great. And so that, that job was digging into the data and seeing what it could tell us. And then very rapidly, um, I, yeah, I got passionate about it and, you know, had several jobs. Speaker 4 00:12:57 I've just kept my fingers in the injury piece all the way along. Um, but eventually I was invited to start up a child and youth injury prevention center at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, which is in Ottawa, Canada. Um, it was a nice move for me 'cause I had family living in that area, but just, I love starting things up. I love getting things going. I love the strategy aspect of it. And so getting that center up and running was great. Um, it allowed me to build partnerships, um, across Eastern Ontario to address child injury. And yeah, just sort of continue that passion. Um, and then because I was doing that, I, I guess we had this opportunity to present to the Canadian government, um, and we were really asking them to invest more in injury prevention. And they came back with, well, you're asking for a tabletop, but we don't see any table legs. Speaker 4 00:13:52 What are the table legs? You know, so we don't wanna invest a bunch of money if there isn't the capacity to do something with it. So we took that challenge seriously. Um, and there were a number of provincial centers across the country, and we formed a collaborative and we developed a curriculum, and we started doing a bunch of things together. And that led me to meet, um, or I guess reconnect with a colleague I'd met earlier in my career who was running the center in Alberta at the time. Um, and then how did I get to Europe from there, you ask, well, she married, she married a German and moved to Europe and started working in Europe. And then she got funding from the European Commission to do this multi-country project, and she needed someone to come over and run that project. And she said, Hey, morgue, do you wanna live in Europe for a couple of years? I said, yes, <laugh>. And so I went over really thinking I was going to be there for, you know, maybe two years. But it, it was, it was just really fun working over there. And, um, I loved the project. I loved what we were trying to achieve. Um, it didn't hurt that I was living in Europe and we were working on a multi-country project that allowed me to go and see parts of Europe that I hadn't seen before. Um, but really it was, it was the what Speaker 3 00:15:08 Parts? Where were you? Yeah. Speaker 4 00:15:11 Okay. So I lived in the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:15:14 Okay. But Speaker 4 00:15:15 That seems good. Yeah. But we started with 18 countries and at the beginning of the project, and we were up to, I think it was 26 at the end. So, um, let me see where the few that I didn't visit that I was really disappointed that I didn't visit. I didn't get to Greece. They were one of our partners, but we just didn't have a meeting there. Um, but all, all of the Nordic countries I saw, um, I, I went to Portugal and Spain. I went to France. Um, Brussels fairly often because the Euro European Commission is there, Germany, um, Latvia, Lithuania, um, Hungary, uh, Czechoslovakia. Speaker 3 00:16:01 Oh, that's such a cool experience. Yeah. It really, Speaker 4 00:16:04 It really, there were very few that I didn't get to. Um, and, and again, I, I took advantage of, of, of it in the sense that if I had a meeting somewhere, I would align it. So I had the weekend at least to go off and, you know, check it out a little bit. So that was, that was great. But it really was the work, um, working to get evidence into practice, um, working to advocate for policy change. Um, you know, for me, even though trained as an epidemiologist, um, and dig into the data, I really love trying to leverage that information to make, um, positive change. And you learn very quickly that data's not enough, that there's lots of other things that come into those decisions. So, um, I think that's continued to keep me fired up and, um, just committed to trying to bring about change for kids. Speaker 3 00:16:58 Alyssa, did you have something? I was, oh, I was gonna say then how did you get to the us? 'cause that's the next step. Oh yeah, the next, I missed that one. <crosstalk>, right? Yeah. Speaker 4 00:17:06 So, um, the economic downturn that started in the US in like 2008 or so, it took a while to hit Europe, but eventually it did. Money started drying up, things got tighter. So the project funding that had expanded and kept me there for, you know, 10 years, um, basically dried up. And so, uh, I was on the phone with the, um, previous president of Safe Kids Worldwide, and one of her development directors talking about, um, liquid laundry packet safety, believe it or not, because, um, uh, Proctor and Gamble who make Tide here in the us, um, they make something called Aerial in Europe. And so they were wanting to do some of the same education with parents that was being done in the US over in Europe. So they were trying to connect with us. And so I had a great call with them, and at the end of it, they were like, okay, so we'll follow up with blah, blah, blah. Speaker 4 00:18:01 I said, great, when you follow up, you need to speak to this person. Um, and they went, well, why not you? And I said, well, I won't be here. I'm finishing this, this contract ends in like two weeks sort of thing. And they said, oh, well what are you gonna do now? And I said, well, I'm happily looking for a job. And the response was, can we call you back in half an hour? And so they called me back. They said they had had an opening for a while for director of research at the time, and they were really interested in, um, bringing me over to interview for the position. And that is what happened. I came over and I Wow, awesome. Accepted. And then we, of course you have to, if you aren't a US citizen, you have to go through a few hoops to work in the us. So we started that process. But yeah, just a few <laugh>, just a few, but I got here and yeah, now, seven years later, still here, really enjoying the job, um, really enjoying ongoing challenges, um, and working to keep kids in the US safe. And I'm now a, an official resident with a green card, so, um, not going anywhere, anywhere soon. Um, so yeah, that's my journey so far. Well, Speaker 2 00:19:06 It, we weren't asked, but if you, if we would've been happy to provide support letters for that because, uh, we love having you in this country working on injury prevention. You know, Laura, one of the things that you said, um, and I'm just curious to get your reaction to this, 'cause it was the first time, and, and I've heard our, one of our co-chief medical advisors, Ben Hoffman say this, uh, quite often, is that, and I think he's looking at this from, you know, the pediatrician standpoint, but injury prevention is a lonely orphan. Yes. And if, if injury prevention is a lonely orphan, drowning is the low little orphan of the orphan the Speaker 4 00:19:43 Issue areas. Yeah, yeah, Speaker 2 00:19:45 Yeah. And I'm just curious because I, I, I kind of felt that come through, uh, your description there. So do you, has that been your experience, I guess, in Canada and Europe and the United States? Yeah, Speaker 4 00:19:56 I, I think, I think you put it very well. And when you talked about the lonely orphan, I think part of it is, um, when we talk about injury, there's a bit of an identity crisis there, because I don't think the public immediately know what you're talking about. Like, when people ask me, what do you do for a living? I gotta kind of get into detail. Whereas if I said, well, I do cancer prevention, even though there are hundred sorts of cancer, they would get it. But I say injury prevention. And they go, so what does that mean, <laugh>? What does that mean? Yeah, exactly. So I, I talked about, you know, from a child safety perspective, I say, you know, there's lots of hazards out there, and we just work to protect kids. So getting kids into car seats, getting fences around pools, getting helmets on heads, um, encouraging, you know, active supervision around water, these sorts of things that we, we work to achieve. Speaker 4 00:20:44 Um, so I think it's, part of it is that it, it's just that identity is sort of missing. Um, I think that, um, there has been investment in injury prevention over time, but I don't think it's ever really met the, you know, matched up with the burden of the issue. So that's part of it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then I think the other thing that we suffer from is, often it's the healthcare system that's dealing with the outcome of the incident, but the solutions lie in multiple sectors. It's transportation, it's education. Um, in the case of drowning prevention, we gotta think about the aquatics, um, sector. Uh, so Speaker 2 00:21:24 Fencing and, and Yeah. Yeah. Everyone work. Yeah, exactly. Speaker 4 00:21:27 Manufacturers, there's just, it's a really large group of, of stakeholders who have a piece to play in the solution. And so bringing those groups together and having them work together is, can be really challenging. 'cause everyone's got their little piece. They aren't always, you know, aligning. So often in injury prevention, we're looking for someone to step up and help coordinate, because when you coordinate and take those little bits of resource and that expertise and put it together to look at the issue comprehensively, you usually come up with a better solution than if each little piece just continues to work along. So, yeah. And I, and I'm not quite sure why drowning is, is the loneliest of the orphans within the, the piece, but I suspect it's because the sectors involved are even broader than say, some of the other issues. Speaker 2 00:22:17 Well, I think it's, I think it's that, but I also think it's, there's not a single solution. And that solution, you know, this is what we found really difficult kind of marketing, drowning prevention is, you know, what we recommend for a infant is gonna be different than what we recommend for a one to four year old, different than what we recommend to a teenager and an adult. Right. So Yeah. Even though, versus Speaker 3 00:22:41 Put a bike helmet on your head <laugh>, or put a Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I, uh, that's interesting because in my time with Safe Kids and the, you know, the different issue areas that our Safe Kids Austin handles, I got into it because I was the coming in as the executive director of Collins Open. I just became the water safety person in the coalition. And I just, I just stayed there because I realized if I was not banging the, you know, whatever, the life jacket at the table, I was, it, you know, the car seat, all the, all the other issue areas were gonna take over. And I got so frustrated and it just became a stay in it to keep it in front up there with the all the other issues. I think you're right. It's the complexity of Yeah. Of our issue. It's not that people have a easier time saying, okay, well bike helmets, we're gonna, we're gonna get helmets and we're gonna give those out, or we're gonna educate. But this is so complex, and Yeah, Adam, as you're mentioning it, all the ages have different messaging too. Speaker 4 00:23:38 Yeah. Well, and then just, you know, we don't have the one magic pill. We talk constantly about layers of protection, and, you know, we do that for other issues as well, but it's not somehow drowning is, it's even, you know, it's even more important that those layers are there. Right. Um, and, and behavior change is always challenging regardless of what behavior you're trying to change. Um, and so, you know that because behavior change is hard, that probably one of those layers at some point is gonna fail, and that's why you want more than one in place. But I think everybody's always looking for, well, what, what can, what's the one thing I can do? And we don't have the one thing that they can do. Um, we have, you know, four or five that we would Yeah. <laugh> Right. Depending on what's happening, right. And yeah. Speaker 3 00:24:25 Where you are, what kind of water, what age, what all the Speaker 2 00:24:27 Things. I, I laugh because I've been doing so many media interviews this summer, and I can get through our layers of protection in like 55 seconds, but it's like, okay, first you're gonna use barriers and fencing, and, you know, you wanna keep that in mind because 70% of drownings and toddlers are happening during, and you gotta like rattle it off so quickly. And I heard one news anchor go, wow, that was a lot of information really quickly <laugh>. And it's like, but, but that's because you're trying to layer in all of this information Yeah. Without maybe, you know, overly prioritizing one area, because you don't want parents think, well, if I just do that one thing Right. That that's the solution. Speaker 4 00:25:01 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:25:02 Well, and I, I, I think too, you know, Morgan, I want to ask you before we get to a couple questions on the action plan. Um, you know, can you talk a little bit about your role at Safe Kids? I, I think people hear Safe Kids all the time, you know, uh, the coalitions around the country, the national office, um, who is Safe Kids as an organization, um, you know, what, what does your job entails? The, uh, uh, director of research and, um, I think you're the chief now of the Yeah. Of the research side. So, um, and, you know, you guys touch all areas of injury prevention with kids. So could you talk about that for a moment? Yeah, Speaker 4 00:25:38 Absolutely. Safe Kids, um, is a not-for-profit that was started 35 years ago by a pediatric surgeon at, um, uh, at the hospital here in dc uh, children's National. And he just got tired of having conversations with parents in the waiting room, whether it was a sad, you know, conversation because a child hadn't made it or was severely injured, or parents often ask, could we have done something to prevent this? Or what could we have done to prevent this? And this was, you know, 35 years ago, there was not as much out there around injury prevention, um, and certainly no individual organization at that time really taking on the issue. So he started off, um, making it a national campaign to try and address child unintentional injury. Um, and they came up with the coalition model, and so they started, um, developing coalitions across the country. Speaker 4 00:26:32 And they, we've, we've had, you know, different numbers over, over the years, it's sort of gone up and down and whatever, but we currently have about 400 coalitions across the country. Each of them has a lead agency. Um, and that lead Agency's, um, responsibility is to provide a coordinator to develop a local coalition to look at their local data, decide what their child injury issues are, and to put in place programming, um, educational programming, awareness raising. Some are really involved in advocacy as well, in terms of changing policies, whether that's at an organizational or state level at the national office. Um, we're really responsible for producing resources to support that, um, educational activity, um, trying to, you know, encourage consistency of messaging by making it available. And then the local coalition can take it and co-brand it and use it. Um, but then we've got, you know, consistent messaging happening. Speaker 4 00:27:26 We are also really involved in, um, advocacy efforts at the national level, uh, the federal level in terms of, um, congressional appropriations and trying to get funding to support the issues that we work or working on bigger bills. Um, you know, just trying to get, eventually it really is to get resources to float down to that local level or, um, consistency in, in legislation. Um, so that, again, it doesn't matter where you grow up, you are equally protected. Um, we also do, uh, uh, you know, some national awareness raising around the issue, but we, we really are, um, very much, uh, dedicated to, uh, strategic partnerships to get the message further. And that's the whole coalition piece is involving all the organizations, you know, in, in under one umbrella to help stretch, um, resources as well. So my role is really to ensure that everything that we put out is data-driven and evidence informed. Speaker 4 00:28:21 That's from the research side of things. We do do some primary research ourselves, um, trying to get insights and understand, you know, parents and how they think about this issue and what potential barriers might be to them taking up the behaviors that we're trying to, um, encourage. Um, but we do a lot of analysis of existing data sets to try and look at trends and, and understand who it is that's actually being injured. Um, and then on the, um, network side, uh, uh, our senior network manager reports into me and we're thinking strategically, okay, how do we support the coalitions? How do we in, again, ensure that communications are is occurring, that we're meeting their needs where we can, um, we, um, are are actually right in the middle right now of a bit of a restructuring, um, of the network, um, particularly with respect to, um, state leads to support the local coalitions. Speaker 4 00:29:19 Um, we have, we don't have a state lead in all states, um, but you know, where we do, they, they really can help support and sort of bring what's available at the state level down to support the local coalitions. So that's sort of what we're working on. Um, but you know, it's a, it's a really important mission. Um, and I think most of the people that are involved with Safe Kids, um, we jokingly, it's probably be a really inappropriate thing to say, but we jokingly say we've all drunk the Kool-Aid. We really believe in this mission. Um, those of us that have been in the field for as long as I've been in the field have seen some positive changes over time. But the fact that it's still, you know, a leading cause and in some age groups the leading cause, um, you know, it's, it's, there's more to be done. So, yeah, Speaker 2 00:30:10 For sure. Well, and you know, we have to remember these are accidents, right? And, you know, that's something we try to, you know, keep in mind with drowning is it's an accident, right? It's a hundred percent preventable. Yeah. Um, but, you know, one of the things we've learned is, you know, for it, it's frustrating to me because for all the messaging and work we've done over the years, we still find parents who, I, I can't tell you how many times I do, whether it's a news media interview or whether it's just discussion with a parent on the street when they ask me what I do, and I'm like, well, you know, drownings the leading killer of one to four year olds in the country. They're like, no, it's not like, no, no, Speaker 3 00:30:46 Actually, it's, it's really, it's, yeah. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:30:49 It's, you know, and I don't know whether it's they, they don't, you, you don't know what you don't know, but I, I, what I am a little unsure of is, is, is, is it our messaging failing or is it that them not wanting to address something that there is no solution to? Yeah. Or, you know, one single solution to. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:31:06 We, we often say at Save Kids that the hardest part of our mission is, um, helping a parent understand it could happen to their child. Because no one, you know, no one wants to think that something like that's gonna happen. So I think it is probably somewhat part of human nature to sort of not worry about that as much. Um, not sure, uh, that we've got the fix for that at this point in time. Um, we do know that stories are extremely powerful, um, in terms of, you know, and particularly when, when a family says, we were one of those parents that didn't think it could happen to us, and it just happened to us. Um, so we, we do try and, um, work with families to get to share those stories because they, they probably are the most powerful way to communicate with parents. Speaker 4 00:31:59 Um, but it's really interesting, um, and you mentioned Ben Hoffman, because when we ask families, um, who their preferred messenger would be for information around child safety, you know, a lot of them say, I wish my pediatrician or my family doctor could talk to me about this. And we know that that's, you know, the length, how long they have with a family, the things they have to get done in that timeframe just makes that a little bit less likely to happen. Um, and, you know, I don't know how we fix that one except through partnership and, you know, ensuring that there are ways that, that when the p pediatrician meets with that family, they can say, you know, there, you really need to be thinking about these issues. I'm gonna put you in touch with, or here's something, or I don't know how we do it. I don't know the best way to do it, but somehow leveraging partnership to ensure they get that valuable information that they need. And if, and I feel like if the doctor can at least introduce it, maybe it'll stick a little more because that is their preferred messenger. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:33:00 I've started going, I started going after the obs because of the, get 'em sooner, but get 'em when they're nesting and before the human is out into the world and, um, not, you know, I have this really strong belief to not put it all on one group, like pediatricians, or we've got to look at the spectrum of a life cycle and hit it as soon as possible and keep it going. And all of those people need to be part of it. Yeah. Adam knows that I get riled up around the <laugh>, poor pediatricians, they have to communicate everything to every, you know, well, Speaker 2 00:33:32 We did a study with pediatricians about a year ago just to help inform our efforts at N D P A, and I think it was maybe 50 or 75 pediatricians that were interviewed as part of this study. But it was really the, the only question was, why are you not talking about drowning as part of the child? Well, visits unsurprising, it was time. Yeah. And one pediatrician was pretty direct, like, so the A A P says, I have 42 things I need to cover with this parent, and my hospital is giving me 10 to 15 minutes with each patient, I don't know where, and then you want me to have a seven minute conversation about water safety? Yeah. So, and I mean, what we've started doing is developing resources. So if it's not part of the discussion, can you put a poster up? Can you put a message on your phone recording? Can you, you know, send something out afterwards? Your social media monitors and offices. Right. But what we found is they care about it, but it's, it's, it's, you're exactly right. It's time. Speaker 4 00:34:23 Yeah. Yeah. And I think the other thing that we, you know, to your point about not putting it on one, um, group and expecting them to solve the problem, Melissa, is if we look at, um, some of the groups that have been marginalized and underserved, they may not even be getting to see pediatricians, prenatal. Yeah. So how do we, how do we, um, find additional partners in the community who are interacting with those families and figure out how to get that information to them? And, Speaker 3 00:34:52 And we've done that in our, in our Safe kids. We've go through WIC and we go through, you know, Austin Public Health, and we hit it that way because you're exactly right. And go work with the schools, even the youngest, like headstart and getting in there. Yeah. It is that, and that is, I think the, again, it's the complexity of like, how do we reach everybody? Everybody we need to, and with a very complex message, <laugh>. Speaker 4 00:35:14 Exactly. And, and with the complication that, you know, there are three point, I think it's 3.4 billion new babies born in this country each year. So it's an, it's like continuously needing Speaker 3 00:35:27 Over and over. Yep. Speaker 4 00:35:28 Yeah. And, and you know, even if you talk to parents, I don't know if any of you have ever had conversation with a family where they're like the first couple of kids, and then you get, oh yeah. Kid who's completely different and everything that you did for the first two, suddenly you're like, did Speaker 3 00:35:40 Not work <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:35:41 I'm not sure what to do here. And it's just, again, I, like I said, I, I was second born in my family, but I was the kid that was climbing trees and running around the neighborhood, and yeah, I got hit by a car. I fell out of a tree. I almost drowned. I was, I was literally the one. And so my family just thinks it's hilarious that I now, well, you're, Speaker 3 00:35:59 Well, you're the perfect Speaker 2 00:35:59 Story billboard for Speaker 3 00:36:00 Injury prevention. It's like, wait, this story needs to be part of your, like, people need to know this. You're like, it's super credible <laugh>. Yeah. Like, for a lot of reasons, Speaker 2 00:36:12 I don't want you to live it <laugh>. Speaker 4 00:36:13 Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Speaker 2 00:36:16 Um, ma, I wanna ask you with our remaining time, a couple questions about the US action plan. Um, you know, first, how did this start? Um, you know, I know Alyssa and I are kind of familiar with this, but to our listeners who, um, you know, maybe are just learning about the action plan or have just been on the peripheries of hearing it's coming for the last couple years, I guess, you know, from a 50,000 foot view, why an action plan? Why is this needed? And I guess part B to that would be how did you get to be the chair of the development? Hmm. Speaker 4 00:36:46 Yeah, <laugh>, um, I guess, so drowning prevention globally has, has become a more, um, it's gotten a little more bandwidth over, over the years. The World Health Organization, um, has really been looking at it. And part of that is, I mean, we, we have an issue here in the us but it's like 95% of fatal drownings occur in, in low and middle income countries. So it, it was a big issue, but they put forward an, essentially a challenge, which was, you know, each, every country in this world should have certain things in place to protect their citizens from drowning. And one of the things that can really help move, um, and get some of those other strategies in place is an overall plan that involves sort of a comprehensive look at the issue and trying to address it. So a number of countries developed, um, national strategies, and Australia's one we often point to because they're now on their third 10 year strategy and they're still working on it. But, um, we looked at that and we said, you know, there really should be, why don't we have something in the us There could Speaker 3 00:37:51 Be something Speaker 4 00:37:52 In the us. Um, and I think even early on we recognized this is a huge country. Um, it's so diverse. Um, you know, I I came from working in, in Europe with so many partners being part of the European Union, but I mean, there are 50 states plus several territories associated with the, it's huge. Um, and, and the, the structure of having a lot of the decision made at the state level, um, com makes it even more complex. Right. So I was gonna Speaker 2 00:38:21 Say most most states think they're individual countries. Speaker 3 00:38:24 Yeah. Speaker 4 00:38:25 So, so it, it, you know, we, we knew it was something that we wanted to see, and we felt, you know, the, the, I, I guess the bottom line is, um, it really shouldn't matter where you live, live in this country, you should be protected, um, from, you know, drowning. There should be things in place. And, and, you know, from my perspective in child safety, it really was, it shouldn't matter where I'm born or where I'm growing up. Um, the, the, the bigger society should be thinking about me and protecting me. So for me, it becomes almost like, as a child, I should have a right to safety and society should Yes. Be protecting me. Not a privilege. Not a privilege. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Um, so, so, sorry, we digressed a little bit there, but overall, there, there was a, a, I think agreement within water safety, u ss a, that actually taking on developing a US national Water Safety Action plan would be a good thing. Speaker 4 00:39:19 We, we talked about, you know, even if you develop things like minimum standards that people can follow when you have it laid out for the country, at least that minimum be in place for everybody. We talked about, you know, the fact that data weren't, um, you know, comparable across the country. And if we just put a little bit of effort into some of that, we might strengthen again, our ability to address the issue. So we sort of talked about some of those ideas, and there was agreement that we would, um, at that time it was water safety, u s a established a, a subcommittee to look at the issue. Um, and I think it was my experience from Europe and the fact that I probably didn't shy away from saying I'd be happy to be part of this, that, um, I ended up, um, being you'd be happy to be part of it. Speaker 4 00:40:04 That's funny. Ended up being the, the chair. But as you noted, Adam, when we started the process, we didn't think it would take as long as it has taken. Yeah. But one of the things that we really committed to early on was, was not just having eight people sit in a room and write this and put it out. Right. So even from the beginning, it started out as a subcommittee of water safety, u s A, but we got some feedback that, you know, we don't want a water safety U ss a plan, we want a national plan. So we, we stepped out a little bit. And then, um, in terms of the working groups that we put together, you know, when the report comes out and you look at the list of people that were involved in this development, um, we really wanted to have input from across the country into this plan and all sectors as we developed it. Yeah. Of exactly. Um, so that there, there was an opportunity for people to either be involved directly or partway through, we shared, um, what we'd come up with and asked for feedback on it. Um, we, we just wanted to engage with the field as we developed it. So in fact, we were hoping that that process would be, um, an important piece of the eventual, um, implementation because people would be aware of it, they would've heard about it, um, maybe participated in it and, and become champions of helping us implement it. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:41:21 Well, you know, and I, I will say I morgue, I don't know if you were at this event, um, but the World Conference on drowning in 2017 was in Vancouver. Yes. And, um, it was, I, I will say embarrassing to be from the United States because Speaker 3 00:41:39 We had this conversation, Adam, I remember being, Speaker 2 00:41:42 We were Speaker 3 00:41:42 Both there and we were with Megan, and we were like, this is really embarrassing. Well, we were Speaker 2 00:41:47 Really develop nation without an action plan already underway. And, you know, frankly, the US always likes to tout, it's the world power and the leading country and everything. And yeah, here we are, you know, and we're, you know, empty bag. We have nothing to show where all these other countries do. And, you know, Morag, we, we often get the question, I know you've gotten this, I've gotten this. Well, why didn't we just create a plan similar to Australia or similar to Great Britain Yeah. Where it, you know, would've been a little bit of a faster process. But you've already said the US is just different. So own thing. Create a plan that was unique to the us. Speaker 4 00:42:20 Yeah. And you know, one other difference is a number of the countries that have done it have done it under the mandate of governments. So their national government has said, we want, we wanna respond to this, and we want you to do this. And so there are usually, yeah. <laugh> some money, read the little money mark. There's usually some resources that, that flow from that. Right. Um, it's, again, it, it's similar to we were talking about why drowning is the lonely orphan, and it's so many sectors involved. There is no clear lead for drowning prevention in this country. We have, if you, if you ask which government departments have a responsibility, you know, you're okay, well, C P SS C has water safely. Um, US Coast Guard does Coastal Army Corps of Engineers does inland water their lakes. Speaker 3 00:43:04 Yep. Uh, Speaker 4 00:43:05 Yeah. Um, C D C really works on data and, and, you know, research, um, national parks have their own water and what they do. Um, you know, it's just like I, and I'm probably missing, um, I think environment has some stuff as well, so I'm missing some of them. But it's like there's little bit that fragmented piece, fragmented map that, that, you know, isn't coming together that makes it really challenging. So we don't have a mandate, um, from government that makes it all the harder. And that is why we wanted to try and be bringing in the stakeholders to the process where possible so that, um, you know, we've got people that are engaged in the process that believe in, in what we're trying to achieve. And again, that's more likely to hopefully result in implementation. Now, once we have this plan in place, we're really hoping that it will gather speed and we will start to see, um, increasing commitments from governments at multiple levels to putting some resources into ensuring not only that plans get that local plans to address that local context are created, but also, um, that they're supported. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:44:14 So, well, I know we're running out of time and we, I could talk to you for another three hours about drowning prevention 'cause you are so knowledgeable and just have this, uh, amazing way of looking at the, the issue. But I'm gonna ask you the, the final question that we ask every, uh, guest on the podcast. Speaker 3 00:44:30 I love this question. Speaker 2 00:44:31 Um, I'm handing you a magic water safety wand that you could change one thing in water safety, big or small. What would Morag change in water safety? Speaker 4 00:44:40 You know, I think what I would love to see, and again, this is selfishly because I have put so much time into the development of the US National Water Safety Action Plan, I wish that every single community across the US had an action plan to address drowning prevention in their own community. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I know that's a big one thing because it involves several steps to get there, but, you know, people can start with where they are and what they already have, and just even stopping to reflect on whether they have any gaps in what they have in place. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I, I do think that coming together as a community to look at an issue and decide, you know, if there are additional things that can be done, it also just alerts everybody to what is in place. I mean, and you realize how many assets you do have and how you can build on those assets too. So I know that mine's a big ask, but I would love to see that we, we Speaker 3 00:45:40 Like, we like that ask though. Speaker 2 00:45:41 We do, we like big aspirational goals. And you know, one of the things that makes me think of is like, be that spark in your community because, uh, you know, whether it's, you know, a parent hearing it for the first time or, you know, whatever it might be, you might be that first time that they're thinking about water safety just by you mentioning it. Yeah. And you have no idea what ripple effect that could have. Speaker 4 00:46:03 Yeah. I love that. And, and that, that's a beautiful water related visual of the pebble that starts it all in the ripple effect that can happen. Um, it's true. Speaker 2 00:46:14 Well, um, Morag, thank you so much, uh, for joining us. And I forgot to mention Morag was also, uh, the ND p a, uh, lighthouse Award winner this year. Speaker 3 00:46:22 Congratulations. Speaker 4 00:46:23 Thank you. That was such an honor and I was so surprised. But, um, so, so much gratitude to, to the N D P A for all you guys have done to help both, you know, partnering with Safe Kids coalitions across the country from that part of my job, but also in the development of the US National Water Safety Action Plan. Speaker 2 00:46:42 Well, thank you for your leadership. And I mean, honestly, Morag, I, I know personally what a heavy lift, uh, this has been. Not, um, you know, especially for you, but the entire steering committee and all the working group chairs, but you have just been a consistent leader at the top, um, driving this process forward from the beginning. And I think, um, when everyone sees the plan come out here in a couple weeks, everyone's gonna be really just impressed what's been pulled together. It's quite amazing just thinking back four years ago to where we were at and, uh, to see the consensus there. So, um, thank you Morag, for joining us today. Thank you, Alyssa, for joining me as, uh, my cos I think you're gonna be my cohost on the next episode too. Stay safe this summer and we'll see you again on the next episode.

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