New technology, designed as a wearable monitor and a smartphone app, is aimed at helping to prevent child drowning deaths. The brand new technology designed for swimming safety is known as iSwimbands. This system includes a headband for the swimmer and a wristband for the non-swimmer, alerting the non-swimmer’s smartphone through an app immediately if the swimmer is underwater for more than 20 seconds.
iSwimband is advertised as “a personal and portable aquatic safety system,” but it does not aim to replace vigilant supervision. iSwimband’s goal is to provide a second level of protection because drowning can be difficult to detect. The device‘s settings can be customized to fit the swimmer and non-swimmer’s preferences, and the signals reach more than 100 feet.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that this summer a startling number of children in our country fatally drowned in pool-related incidents. From Memorial Day through Labor Day this year, 112 children younger than age 5 drowned in swimming pools or spas in various states throughout the nation.
In a statement concerning these summer deaths, CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye stated, “These numbers are heartbreaking—plain and simple. They should motivate all of us to do even more to prevent another family from suffering the way they have. Even though summer is over and children are back in school, pools are still open in warm weather states and indoor swim parks. It’s not too late for adults and kids to learn to swim and to take the Pool Safely Pledge to be safer around the water all year long.”
The Pool Safely Pledge offers both a pledge for children and a pledge for adults to commit to Pool Safely in 2014. The kid’s pledge states, “I will never swim alone and will ask my parents to sign me up for swimming lessons. I will stay away from drains in the pool or hot tub. I will have fun and always follow these safety steps when I’m in and around the water.”
The adult’s pledge urges parents to “Designate a water watcher every single time children in my care are in or near the water. Make sure my kids know how to swim. As a parent or guardian, learn CPR. Always remove portable pool ladders when not in use. Ensure all permanent pools have a proper fence and gate and safer drain covers.”
These simple online commitments are aimed to encourage both child and adult education about pool safety in order to prevent future incidents. The CPSC launched the national public education campaign to raise awareness about pool and spa safety in 2010. Its goal is to reduce child drownings, near-drownings, and entrapments in swimming pools and spas. The campaign specifically focuses on educating populations most at risk of drowning, which are minorities and children younger than the age of 5.