Each year, an average of 350 children under five years old drown in a swimming pool, and more than 2,000 are rushed to the hospital for near-drowning incidents. Take steps to keep your children safe.
For the most part, pool alarms are optional, although a handful of states have laws requiring alarms for home pools, following a 2007 Pool Safety Act.
While there are no statistics on just how many lives pool alarms save every year, they are tested devices and a good layer of security to protect your toddler.
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What Pool Alarms Are Not
Pool alarms are not a lifeguard. They cannot tell the difference between a swimming person and a drowning one, and they cannot save someone who is drowning. They are not lifesaving devices: They merely alert a nearby adult.
How They Help Save Lives
You cant keep an eye on your child at all times, and kids are clumsy. A pool alarms means that if your child falls into the pool, you know immediatelynot when you finish pouring your drink or putting sunscreen on your husband.
What Pool Alarms Detect
Since various pool alarms detect different things, here are a few options:
- Pool gate latches are a good, low-tech first step, something easy for an adult to open, but high up and complex enough to deter a child. Adding a door or gate alarm will let you know if someone opens the gate without first activating the override. Security advisors suggest using a gate alarm in conjunction with a pool alarm.
- Swimming pool alarms work by detecting disturbances in the water. Most detect displacement, but others detect pressure changes.
- Good Housekeeping has a comprehensive review of various pool alarms, complete with prices and pros and cons. The ones that passed all successfully trip when someone or something enters the water, butdo not trigger when wind whips the water around. A false trigger is like the boy crying wolf.
- There are pool alarms for above-ground pools, as well as in-ground ones.
- Good alarms have an alarm speaker inside the house as well as poolside, so that adults can hear it no matter where they are when their child falls in.
- The Safety Turtle is a personal immersion detector, setting it apart from the others. Its an armband that you put on your child, and the band triggers an alarm at a separate base station if the child falls in the water. This means that if a child (or pet) not wearing an armband falls in, nothing happens, but it also means you can use the alarm at other peoples pool parties, lakes, etc.
The nature of pool alarms dictates their best use: Turn it on when no one is using the pool, and it will let you know if someone falls in. And of course, when you are out by the pool remain vigilant to protect your children.