New Pool Safety Gadgets Help Prevent Drowning
Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are most at risk for drowning, and adult supervision often isn't enough to prevent it.
'Layers' of Pool Protection continued...
"We recommend at a minimum the type of alarm that attaches
to the side of the pool and actually detects motion under the water, rather
than those that monitor surface movement," said Ross. "Surface alarms
can be triggered by wind moving the water, and you can get more false
Ross adds that the CPSC also tested a type of alarm that
attaches to a child's wrist like a wristwatch. There are several models
available. Some sound an alarm if the wrist band gets wet. Others sound when
the band has been under water for a few seconds.
"We did testing on the wrist alarms," said Ross.
"And while they are good as a backup layer of protection, we don't
recommend them as highly as the underwater motion sensor because of the false
alarm problem and because they are not as reliable."
The CPSC's evaluation of various types of pool alarms is
available online at www.cpsc.gov/library/alarm.pdf.
Protection Backs Up Vigilance
"It's true that there is value to electronic alarm systems
as part of the layering of protection," says B. Chris Brewster, president
of the U.S. Lifesaving Association, which provides training and certification
for lifeguards. "But what worries me about the alarms is that people might
think they don't have to keep close watch if they have an alarm. That's
absolutely wrong. Never, ever leave a child alone in a pool even for a few
The unfortunate fact of the matter, however, is that a CPSC
study on how child drownings occur found that supervision can fail. The
investigation looked at deaths of children under age 5 in Arizona, California,
and Florida who had drowned in home swimming pools. Here are some of the
Who was in charge of supervision at the time of drowning?