Safety. Always safety.

Considering the sheer volume of media bombarding our senses every day, it's surprising that any messages — whether advertising, public service or news — get through.

But the early May publicity about drain entrapment surrounding Safe Kids Week, the introduction of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's pool safety bill and the Senate hearings on pool and spa safety (see our coverage in the July 2006 issue, page 124), I thought, must have made a big impression.

The attendant publicity generated significant media coverage, including an appearance by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III on Larry King Live , talking about the tragic death of his 7-year-old granddaughter, Graeme, four years ago. Graeme's mother, Nancy Baker, testified before the Senate subcommittee and also appeared on network morning shows to talk about entrapment. Major newspapers covered the issue, and scores of local papers picked up the story idea, too.

Industry members may have cringed at this publicity, fearing it might cast the industry in an unfavorable light, but I think it provided a platform for the industry to discuss its products and demonstrate that pools and spas, when properly equipped, are as safe as anything else in the household. Overall, I thought, it's actually great that this safety message is getting out there.

So I was shocked when ABC's Good Morning America on July 5, aired a six-minute segment with a family whose 7-year-old child narrowly survived an entrapment in their backyard pool/spa. The child's mother told anchor Robin Roberts, "This is the first time that we were aware of anything like [entrapment]." She then talked about the importance of an anti-vortex cover — which is now installed on their spa. Apparently they hadn't heard the message that I thought had blanketed the country.

So it's just more evidence that we have to continue to talk about safety. No matter how many times the message goes out, it's still worth repeating. And the more we talk about it, the easier it is to talk about. So let's keep talking.

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