The weather is warming up and soon enough Minnesotans will be looking to head to the pool or lake to cool off.
But when they do, one Minnesota family who suffered a tragic loss wants children to be able enjoy a swim as safely as possible.
It's been eight years since 6-year-old Abigail Taylor of Edina died from the injuries she sustained nine months earlier in an accident involving a swimming pool drain.
This past week her parents, who set up the Abbey's Hope organization which seeks to make swimming safer for kids, have released a new, 30-second public service announcement called "No One is Watching," which will run for the next several months.
“In a minute, I’m going to drown in this pool surrounded by friends and relatives," the girl in the PSA says. "That’s because dad thinks mom is watching me and mom thinks dad is, but actually nobody is watching me, and you rarely make a sound when you’re struggling to breathe."
What's the PSA trying to achieve?
As the PSA concerns a girl whose parents aren't keeping an eye on her, Abbey's Hope is looking to encourage people to be "Water Watchdogs."
Scott Taylor, Abbey's father, told KSTP how it works: "We – and some friends in the advocacy group – came up with the Water Watchdog tag. If we’re in a pool together, I put the Water Watchdog tag on, and my responsibility during that 15 or 20 minutes is purely to watch the kids – no phones, no reading, no drinking."
The organization has also put together radio spots, according to a press release. One of these involves a girl playing Marco Polo with her mother, who is taking a business call and continues to say "Marco" before realizing her daughter isn't replying "Polo" because she's drowning.
"Our new PSA can be disturbing, and that’s the point," Taylor said in the release. "The Water Watchdog program is in place to keep adults in supervisory roles attentive and aware that simple distractions like phone calls and texts can make a difference between a child’s life and death."
"We took that as our mission for the rest of our lives is to do whatever we can to make sure that … no other family has to go through what we’ve gone through," he also told WCCO.
After her death, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Abigail Taylor Pool Safety Act, which requires pools to have anti-entrapment drain covers and other safeguards in place so that children can't get trapped in pool drains.