MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — To combat the fact that drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional death nationwide among children 14 and younger, Minnesota-based nonprofit, Abbey’s Hope, has been educating the public and increasing awareness about water safety for going on a decade. This year, the organization also celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act (VGB).

Scott and Katey Taylor founded Abbey’s Hope in 2008 in honor of their daughter, Abbey, who died as a result of injuries sustained by an improperly maintained pool drain cover. Following her death, the Taylor’s began to build awareness and inform others about pool and spa safety.

“Each incident is completely preventable and Abbey’s Hope is the perfect platform to remind everyone how to stay safe this swim season,” said Scott Taylor, co-founder of Abbey’s Hope. “Our daughter’s hope was that no child would suffer the way she did, and it’s our goal to carry out that mission.”

The Taylor family turned their tragedy into inspiration by playing an instrumental role in passing the first ever federal legislation, The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act, that regulates public pools. This year, the VGB Pool & Spa Safety Act celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Signed into law in 2007 by President George Bush, the VGB Act’s purpose is to prevent both entrapment and eviscerations by swimming pool and spa drains along with traditional forms of drowning in public swimming pools and spas. This act was in response to Virginia Graeme Baker, the granddaughter of former U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, who died at the age of seven after becoming entrapped on a spa drain, as well as the death of Abbey Taylor.

Since the effective date of this law, there has not been a single death in a public pool from entrapment. However, incidents like the recent near-death drowning in South Carolina involving a 10-year-old boy submerged under water for nearly nine minutes motivates the Taylor’s to use Abbey’s Hope as a platform to remind others about the significance of safety in public pools.

Over the past ten years Abbey’s Hope has expanded its mission to overall water safety and has contributed more than $290,000 to the YMCA to fund swimming lessons, which have taught more than 13,000 kids to swim. In 2013, Abbey’s Hope participated in the Guinness Book of World Records’ World’s Largest Swim Lesson and conducted the single largest venue event in the Midwest.

Additionally, in 2015, Abbey’s Hope brought to light the need for active adult supervision with its popular Water Watchdog Campaign and has distributed more than 20,000 watchdog tags nationwide along with 2,000 posters at aquatic facilities. Abbey’s Hope also debuted its award-winning PSA, “No One Is Watching”, which has been viewed more than two million times. View the PSA here.

Abbey’s Hope founders, Scott and Katey Taylor, received the prestigious National Water Safety Congress Leadership Award, recognizing the foundation’s good works in 2013.

About Abbey’s Hope:

Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation is a Minnesota nonprofit organization named after Abbey Taylor, the Edina, Minn. six-year-old who died in 2008 as a result of injuries sustained by an improperly maintained pool drain cover.

The Foundation’s goal is to:

Promote awareness of and education related to child safety issues, including educating pool owners, operators, inspectors, and the general public about the dangers of pool entrapment, evisceration and drowning and the need for physical inspections of pool equipment.
Work with the pool and spa industry to improve the design of its products, packaging and warning labels, and assist in the development of product safety standards related to such products.
Identify and provide support and assistance to organizations and programs that help educate parents, children, and pool and spa manufacturers about the prevention of entrapment and traditional forms of drowning.

Find out more about Abbey’s Hope.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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