NDPA Conference April 2019 in New Orleans

We are proud to have been selected as a speakers for the upcoming NDPA 2019 Educational Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana!  Our presenters will be giving a 45 minute talk, including a question and answer period, in the Legislation & Codes Breakout Track portion of the event on April 17th.

CA State Senator Josh Newman. While in the CA state Senate Josh was the author of SB 442, and other child, youth and military veteran health and safety legislation.

Catherine Barankin, Executive Director CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health (CCCSH). CCCSH was lead co-sponsor of SB 442, and Cathy was involved in original legislation in 1990s that created CA’s 1996 Pool Safety Act. Cathy is also the lead Technical Assistance and Training Program Administrator for CA’s Dept of Public Health Kids Plates Local Childhood Coalition Development Program.

Steve Barrow, Program Director CCCSH. Steve and Cathy were lead staff behind SB 442 support efforts, and like Cathy, I was involved in writing and advocating for the 1996 CA Pool Safety Act. Steve also serves on CA’s state Emergency Medical Services Commission, which oversees all EMS first responder EMT, Paramedic, Police EMS training, certification and discipline.
Cathy and Steve also serve as state Co-Chairs of CA’s childhood Unintentional Injury Prevention Strategic Plan Project. The Project is the result of more than 70 stakeholder private organizations and several state and national agencies, efforts to end unintentional injury as the leading cause of death and hospitalization for CA’s children and youth through age 19 years old.

Nadina Riggsbee, Founder and President Drowning Prevention Foundation, and co-sponsor of SB 442
drowning safety

Governor Brown’s Spring 2018 Drowning Prevention Message

Last year the Governor signed SB 442 (Newman) updating CA’s Pool Safety Act. SB 442 is a dramatic step forward in increasing awareness and safety of residential pools. We hope you are utilizing the opportunity this bill provides to draw attention to water safety and pool safety. It took a dedicated choir of groups to support getting this bill to the Governor, and with the leadership of Senator Newman the bill was signed into law.
As we all know the passage of SB 442 is only one piece of a larger puzzle of drowning prevention. As the Governor’s letter points out drowning is not just a pool safety issue, it also involves CA’s many rivers, beaches and lakes.
As Johnny Johnson, Blue Buoy Swim School and Chairman of the Board, Safer 3 Water Safety Foundation, and Nadina Rigsbee, President Drowning Prevention Foundation have taught us all bodies of water come with risks, and to reduce those risks, especially for little kids, and everyone else:
·       Learn about water safety
·       Learn to swim
·       Learn proper ways to participate in a water rescue, especially know how to do CPR for a drowning victim
·       Fence your pools and use another pool safety barrier as listed in CA’s Pool Safety Act, to provide layers of protection, especially to keep young children from getting to a pool unless there will be active supervision of an adult
·       Never ever and at no time allow a young child access to a pool or other body of water unsupervised
·       Learn how to properly use a life vest when around open bodies of water
And as Julie and Jonathan at the Jasper Ray Foundation stress, there is no season for drowning, it unfortunately is a year around issue.
Far too many people and young children lose their lives each year in CA due to drowning. Drowning can be prevented.
As the Governor’s letter states it is not only the loss of life, but also the brain damage that occurs when a child, youth or adult survives a drowning incident. As DDS reports there are 748 Californian’s receiving support services through the Department of Developmental Services due to a drowning incident. For every child who suffers a fatal drowning incident, five others survive, but have some level of brain injury due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Unlike broken legs and arms, an injury of the brain is forever.
If you have questions about SB 442 contact Cathy Barankin, Executive Director or Steve Barrow, Program Director at CCCSH at cbarankin@aol.com or scbarrow88@gmail.com.
The Drowning Prevention Foundation joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centralia Unified School District at a first-time family clinic on the grounds of the San Marcos School. The Buena Park, CA event focused on swimming pool safety/drowning prevention, nutrition, cancer prevention, and a number of other health and safety tips and resources. Clinic and school volunteers also staffed kids’ crafts and healthy snack stations.

American Academy of Pediatrics Clinic

On March 25, 2018 Marcia Kerr staffed a Drowning Prevention Foundation pool safety information table at the Clinic in the Park sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Orange County Chapter, in Irvine, CA.

Sharing the table was Alexa Pratt with the Orange County Fire Authority for the Orange County Task Force on Downing Prevention and Kevin Hua, clinic volunteer and Cal State University, Fullerton student.

Interactive materials from the Drowning Prevention Foundation, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission/Pool Safely, the Orange County Fire Authority and the American Academy of Pediatrics were distributed.

The Easter Bunny made a special appearance at the table to promote water safety this spring and summer!

SB 442 Signed into Law

Great news!!   California Governor Brown signed the state pool barrier bill SB 442 Authored by Senator Josh Newson and Co-Authored by Nancy Skinner.

The cosponsors of SB 442 was the Drowning Prevention Foundation and the California Coalition for Children’s Safety & Health.

State of California not only first to pass a fencing law internationally in (Contra Costa County) initiated by DPF founder Nadina Riggsbee, first to pass state bill AB3305, supported by many Drowning Prevention advocates throughout the state, and now again first and only state in the US to have a double product barrier law.  A major part of the new law is when home is sold and does not have two barriers protecting small children from drowning in backyard pools they are considered defective!


Drowned Children’s Parents and First Responders Meet with State Senator Authoring Drowning Prevention Law Changes

Press Release for Immediate Release – Friday, June 16, 2017

Contacts: Steve Barrow, CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health (CCCSH) scbarrow88@gmail.com or cell 530 902-5551 or Marcia Kerr, So.CA Representative Drowning Prevention Foundation, mkerr44@gmail.com, 949-300-0394

Drowned Children’s Parents and First Responders

Meet with State Senator Authoring Drowning Prevention Law Changes

Today, in the southern California city of Fullerton parents who have lost a child due to a pool drowning and first responder representatives met with Senator Newman, who is authoring legislation to address residential pool drowning. Nicky, Jasper, Cody, and Jasmine are children under the age of five, who died due to backyard pool drowning. They were represented by their parents in the meeting and press event with the Senator, to discuss the hard realities drowning has on children’s siblings, parents, family and community. First responder and Children’s Hospital Orange County, representatives experienced in the trauma of drowning joined the meeting and press conference. The purpose of the meeting and follow up press conference was to discuss how state level policies impact local efforts to stop drowning as the leading cause of death for California’s one to four year old population.[1]


Drowning is preventable,” stressed Marcia Kerr, who lives in Orange County and lost her son Cody at age two due to pool drowning. “We need every parent, caregiver and pool owner to better understand how these preventable tragedies can be avoided. Each of the children’s drowning stories displayed at this event are heart wrenching and hard to see and read, but these are true stories. They help us all have a better understanding about the realities of backyard drowning, and therefore better enabled to understand what needs to be done to prevent drowning before it

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 happens. Unfortunately the reality is that in California, that for every child that suffers a fatal drowning, another five children drown, but are revived, with many suffering permanent brain damage.

According to California’s Department of Public Health EPICenter (http://epicenter.cdph.ca.gov/) and Center for Disease Control (WISQARS[2] – Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) drowning is the leading cause of death for California’s children ages one through four years old. A recent review of California’s EPICenter data found that from 2010 to 2014 more than 160 children aged one through four years old suffered a fatal drowning, with the majority of these young child drowning incidents involving residential pools. From 2010 to 2015 over 740 California children ages one through four years old were hospitalized due to a “near-drowning” incident, with the vast majority of these hospitalizations the result of brain injury due to asphyxiation suffered during the drowning incident. The California Department of Developmental Services (DDS), which provides care for California children and adults with major brain injury, reported that as of December 2016, the largest group of clients cared for by DDS were associated with drowning incidents. DDS has more than 755 clients in its care who suffered a drowning incident when they were younger children.

“It is a tragedy that some parents, pool owners and policy makers still believe caregivers can keep young children safe, from reaching the to a pool, solely due to parents’ innate understanding how to prevent drowning,” stresses Kerr, “Parents, babysitters, and caregivers need the help of pool safety barriers to keep kids from unexpectedly accessing the pool unsupervised. It only takes a minute to lose track of an active young child, all parents know this, and without something like multiple levels of a pool fence, cover or alarms, your kids can and will get to the pool, and can drown – silently – within one to two minutes. Mine did, and I live with that every day!”

“It is a painful reality of life that as a parent it is not possible to be with our children 24/7 and able to protect them,” states Julie Lopiccolo, Jasper’s mom, “at times, all parents leave their children to be cared for by a relative, neighbor, or babysitter.  Our regular babysitter was watching our son Jasper, who was an active, smart and curious 21 month old.  Without our permission, she brought him to her home next door, where Jasper accessed a backyard pool and drowned. The babysitter had been instructed not to leave our house, where there was no pool, but did. I believe, that if only

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her pool would have had some warning system or barriers built in our Jasper would be alive and with us today. No matter how responsible of a parent I was, I could not protect Jasper from that unfenced pool because I did not know he was there and the owners of the home, like so many others each and every year, failed to recognize the risk the pool on their property created to the life of a curious child.”

“My son Nicky was lost to a pool drowning when he was just being a typical kid,” says Carol Norman, whose 5 year old son drowned in a neighbor’s pool, “he was playing with neighborhood kids, went into a neighbor’s home, where the door to the pool alarm was disabled, invited to swim by his five year old friend, unsupervised, and drowned. We provide multiple safety barriers when it comes to other things that create risk for our kids, such as cars, medications, food, cross walks, etc., but do not do the same with pools. Parents and pool owners need to have the help of multiple barriers, so they never suffer a loss of their child, like I did.”

To prevent residential pool drowning we need all parents, caregivers and pool owners to understand five things:” stresses Steve Barrow of California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health, “Here are a few drowning prevention things to know, with the most important one being the reality that all bodies of water come with risk, including pools and other open bodies of water (not in priority order):

  • To prevent drowning parents and caregivers for children should have thought through a drowning prevention strategy before taking a child to the water; such as who will provide active supervision, what the child is allowed to do while at the water, wearing U.S. Coast Guard approved safety life vests when appropriate, who will rescue the child if they get into trouble
  • No young child should be allowed to access a backyard pool unless there is active supervision of a water safe parent or adult, meaning no further than arms length away, while the child is at the pool or in the pool
  • Water safety and swim lessons are essential life skills that all adults and children should have to help prevent drowning
  • At least two pool safety barriers should be in place for all residential pools, such as isolation fencing, pool covers, door and in-water pool alarms, to help parents, caregivers and pool owners prevent a young child from accessing the pool unsupervised.”

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Pools are an important part of California families’ landscape. And, like all types of water, pools can pose a risk of drowning for young children, but drowning is preventable. That is why California’s pool builders have worked hard to join the Drowning Prevention Foundation and many others to support statewide policies that will make sure all of our pools are safe,” States Terry Snow from Independent Pool and Spa Service Association and California Pool and Spa Association, “Water safety and swimming lessons are important life skills we should all have, and for young children we also need to make sure they can never access a pool without the active supervision of a parent or adult. The drowning stories displayed at this press event shows us the hard lessons about drowning, and set the stage for pushing forward statewide policies that will make all pools safe in California.”

 “Childhood drowning is a costly issue for our state’s healthcare system and taxpayers,” stresses Steve Barrow, Program Director CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health, drowning prevention legislative sponsor, “according to our state’s EPICenter data between 2003 and 2013 drowning incidents cost $1.6 billion in healthcare costs. The annual medical and wage loss costs of young children drowning incidents is more than $205 million a year in California.

Affected parent, who have lost a child due to pool drowning contact information:

Marcia Kerr, Cody’s mom, mkerr44@gmail.com, 949-300-0394

Nadina Riggsbee, Samira and JJ’s mom, nriggsbee@comcast.net, 707-747-0191

Julie Lopiccolo and Jonathan St. Clair, Jasper’s parents, jonathanmstclair@gmail.com, info@jasperray.org, 714-997-7870

Carol Norman, Nicky’s mom, norman@sandiego.edu, 619-886-0556

Kimberley Hodges, Brandon’s mom, hodges.kimberley@yahoo.com, 951-897-4545

[1] Drowning as the leading cause of death for California’s 1 to 4 year old population is based on data from CA’s Department of Public Health EPICenter data (https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html)  and Center for Disease Control’s Injury Prevention and WISQARS injury data system (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) data center

[2] Ibid

Letter of Support

April 18, 2017


Senator Jose Newman

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814


Re: SB 442 (Newman) Pool Drowning Prevention – Co-Sponsor and Support


The Drowning Prevention Foundation is one of the oldest and leading organizations working on ending drowning incidents in California. We are proud to co-sponsor and support SB 442 and your efforts to protect California’s young children from residential pool drowning. Your bill provides an important update to our twenty year old Pool Safety Act, which we were involved in passing back in 1996. This bill, SB 442, covers one of the Top Ten issues lifted from the CA Unintentional Injury Prevention Strategic Plan Project. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization for California’s children and youth ages 1-19 and the leading cause of injury related death for babies and infants. Drowning is the leading cause of injury related deaths for California’s children ages one to four.


For every one child that drowns and dies, 4-5 others are hospitalized due to suffering a “near-drowning” incident, which can lead to life-long brain damage due to lack of oxygen during the drowning incident. One near drowning victim with brain damage can result in more than $5 million in hospital costs.


Drowning incidents cost California’s health care system more than $195 million a year. There are many other healthcare and societal costs association with near drowning not reflected in the $195 million annual price tag.  For example near drowning survivors make up one of the largest populations cared for by California’s Department of Developmental Services (DDS). DDS reports it has more than 770 near downing clients on its current roster of those being cared for by DDS.


SB 442 updates one of our state’s efforts to end residential pool drowning or at least make it a very rare event. The bill does four things:

  • There are seven different types of pool safety barrier options available to pool owners. Pool safety barriers prevent children from getting to a residential pool unsupervised and range from door alarms, in-pool alarms, isolations fencing, to safety covers. This bill increases the required number of safety barriers preventing a child from getting to a pool unsupervised from one barrier to two, but retains the pool owner’s option to choose the barriers that work for their pool
  • Pool door alarms currently allow only a shrill siren noise. The bill allows pool owners the option of using a shrill door alarm or an audible warning (“Door to pool is open, Door to pool is open, …..)
  • The bill makes compliance with the Pool Safety Act an item for the disclosure and defect homeowner report upon the sale of a home with a pool, instead of a condition upon the sale of the home. California’s Realtor Industry association recommended the disclosure format as the most effect format upon sale of a home, and with that amendment removed opposition to the bill.
  • The bill brings uniformity to residential pool safety laws and ordinances by providing the state law as the standard for pool safety.


If you have any questions about the Drowning Prevention Foundation or our support for SB 442 contact Board Member Cathy Barankin at cbarankin@aol.com.


Yours Truly

Nadina Riggsbee, Founder and President

Drowning Prevention Foundation

Advisory: Parents of Drowning Victims, First Responder, Children’s Hospital Doctor to meet with Senator Newman to discuss Drowning Prevention

For Immediate Release:                                                                               Contact: Lisa Murphy

June 14, 2017                                                                                                            (916) 651-1979


Advisory: Parents of Drowning Victims, First Responder, Children’s Hospital Doctor to meet with Senator Newman to discuss Drowning Prevention


Newman is author of SB 442 which updates the 20 year old Pool Safety Act


Fullerton, CA– Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) will meet on Friday in Fullerton with parents who have lost a child due to pool drowning, first responders, a children’s hospital trauma doctor, and pool industry representatives. At the Fullerton Community Center, the group will discuss the disproportional impact pool drowning has had on southern California families and communities. The group will also discuss Senator Newman’s SB 442, a bill which updates California’s 20-year old residential Pool Safety Act, to add additional safeguards to prevent further drowning incidents.


After their meeting, Senator Newman and the coalition will make themselves available to the press to discuss the implications of losing a child to drowning, how to prevent drowning, and SB 442’s role in moving drowning prevention policies forward across our state.


  • WHAT: Press availability with Senator Newman, affected families and parents, first responder, local drowning prevention leaders and Children’s Hospital Orange County trauma/PICU doctor


  • WHEN:  10:15 a.m., Friday, June 16, 2017


  • WHERE: Fullerton Community Center

340 W Commonwealth Ave

Fullerton, CA 92832

(Entrance south side of the building, off of the south side parking lot)


  • VISUALS: Stories and images of young victims of pool drowning, Fullerton community center pool, first responders and families


Open to all credentialed media – Please send questions and RSVP to Lisa.Murphy@sen.ca.gov