MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Last year alone, there were 65 boating and drowning deaths in Minnesota, and this year is off to a tragic start, too.

First a drowning in Burnsville, then an apparent drowning in Loring Park, just a few of the recent headlines that hit Katey Taylor especially hard.

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“It’s heartbreaking, it’s heartbreaking to see that as we’ve just entered into the summer season,” she said.

Taylor lost her own daughter in a Minneapolis pool in 2007. Her lively and expressive little girl was pulled into a faulty drain. After 16 surgeries, she passed away at 6 years old.

(credit: CBS)

Taylor founded an organization in her daughter’s name, Abbey’s Hope.

“You don’t expect anything like that ever to happen. And I don’t want someone else to have that same story,” she said. “I think what’s an important message for me is that your life can change in an instant.”

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So she’s working hard to get out lessons about water safety. Pushing for anyone with a pool or pond, no matter how small, to have a gate or cover, barrier for kids.

She also says to get kids into swimming lessons. Her organization also pushes pool owners to get their drains checked out yearly. They’ve gotten creative on their latest push, handing out these Watchdog tags, so adults can trade off watching kids in 20 minute intervals.

“You put it in your pool bag, you put it in your beach bag, whatever, and it’s a reminder so that when you’re around the water with your loved ones, that you take the time and say, ‘OK, I’m the wwatcher right now,'” Taylor said.

Her dream is that lives will be saved in her daughter’s name.

“I think that through this foundation and keeping her legacy alive is just reminding me that she is helping and she is wanting to make sure that we help others as well,” Taylor said.

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If you’d like one of the tags with all the details on how to be a water watch dog, click here. For info on how to get reduced cost swimming lessons or on making your pool safer with a yearly check info, click here.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield