As I had mentioned in some of my previous articles, recent trends do indicate many consumers turning towards technology to add an extra layer of protection against drowning. The focus has mostly been on children and non-swimmers, and rightfully so. Children, novice-swimmers, and non-swimmers are more vulnerable and have a greater threat of drowning. That being said, even swimmers and professionals are susceptible to drowning.
Drowning of a child can happen in 2 seconds in 2 inches of water.
Even though safety devices provides an extra layer of protection, learning to swim and swimming under watchful and vigilant eyes still remains the best defense against drowning.
Supplementing supervision with safety devices is a great idea. Some products that come to my mind right away are, Safety Turtle Wristband, iSwimBand, My Buddy Tags, Aqua Alerts Water Activated Wristband, and SEAL Systems. These wearables may have different underlying technologies, but they all either activate alarms and/or send alerts when the device either comes in contact with water or is submerged in water over a preset time. These devices DO NOT prevent drowning; the responsibility still falls on the person watching the swimmer.
Safety Turtle Wristband is a simple wristband which debuted in 1999. This is primarily for non-swimmers (including pets) who are not supposed to be submerged in water. As soon as the wristband, hooked remotely to a base station, becomes wet it activates a high decibel alarm (via radio signals) in the base station. Some of notable features of this device are – it is highly portable; easy to setup and operate; multiple wristbands can be ‘hooked’ to one base station; each wristband comes with a lock/key so the kids cannot take them off; reasonably good battery life of 3-4 years; and normally, it doesn’t send false signals on water splashes and spilled drinks. The range is limited to 60-70 meters direct line of sight and can be impacted by trees and walls.
Safety Turtle Wristband is not a floatation device and does not guarantee the safety of your child, and one still needs to respond to the alarm. Be always aware of the whereabouts of your child whether it is near the bathtub at home or around the neighbor’s swimming pool or on a beach.
Aqua Alert – Water Activated Wristband is an all-electronic band with a simple design that is easy to put on and off. This wristband sounds a high decibel (110 db) alarm when it comes in contact with water. The alarm can be heard up to 150 feet. Some of the features that I liked are – a very simple design and operating mechanism; comes with a lock/key so that kids cannot take it off; and the activated band can easily disengaged just by shaking it. Best of all, the company donates part of the sales proceeding to Justin’s Club, a non-profit organization that cares about prevention of childhood drowning – a noble cause!
Like Safety Turtle Wristband, Aqua Alert Wristband is not a floatation device. Be extra alert if you are in a noisy place, because the surrounding noises can ‘drown’ the sound of the alarm.
When a child is near water, there is no substitution to parental vigilance and supervision.
Please stay tuned for more upcoming articles on safety wearables.