According to annual statistics approximately 375 children under the age of five accidentally drown in pools and an additional estimated 2,900 require treatment in emergency rooms for near-drownings. Some infants even drown in bathtubs. Families of children lucky enough to survive near-drownings incur heavy medical expenses following such accidents. Even conscientious people may encounter brief distractions while watching children; but, an unattended child may drown in a matter of mere minutes.
One of the reasons that so many children die this way is that people are unaware that they are underwater. Sounds do not emanate from a pool or bathtub while a child is drowning. This need for way to automatically alert others has led to the development of pool safety alarms. Nevertheless, experts warn that these devices aid child safety, but are not sufficient to prevent drowning by themselves. Other implements, such as fences and covers are also necessary. Using these implements in concert significantly reduces drowning potential. As a general caveat you should check to ensure that your system is guaranteed by warranties.
One of the most common types of alarms is strapped to children's wrists. It sends a radio transmission to a base unit that sounds a warning when the wristband comes into contact with water. Most standard versions require the base to be located within 100 feet of the pool area, but more expensive versions allow extended range. Despite the benefits of these alarms, they also have drawbacks. A caregiver must remember to strap the alarm onto the child's wrist and any contact with water activates this type of alarm, even water from a faucet. Also, the device cannot be used in seawater as it will obstruct the transmission. Many such devices also have a limit on water depth.
This type of alarm has found to be the most consistent and can be used in conjunction with pool covers. They essentially operate as underwater motion detectors. Water displacement, such as occurs when an object breaks the surface, automatically triggers the alarm. Because these alarms are set underwater they avoid false alarms caused by wind or rain. Alarms will typically activate when displacement is caused by an object weighing fifteen pounds or more, the size of a very small child. This adjusted sensitivity prevents false alarms when an object such as an errantly thrown ball enters the water.
Surface alarms detect objects breaking the surface of water. There are two main types of surface alarms, those that sit on the deck of the pool, casting an electronic sensor beam and another kind that floats on the water's surface. More reliable models are sensitive to a point that they do not react to objects such as falling leaves.
This type of alarm is basically the same as many simple door alarms. It attaches the pool's gate or fence and is activated by unauthorized opening. Alarms of this type also feature a delay to allow an entrant to input a code for deactivation.
Still one other type of alarm, perimeter alarms use lasers and mirrors to establish a perimeter surrounding the pool area. Breaking the beam between any of the mirrors automatically triggers the alarm. They are compatible with most household electrical outlets. Many also feature timers allowing for automatic shutoff and thus avoid false alarms caused by stray animals.