Are Pool Alarms Effective in Preventing Child Drowning?
Gregg Hollander | August 9, 2022 | Defective Products and Injuries to Children
Drowning is a leading cause of injury-related death for children. Over one-half of the drowning deaths for children four years old and younger occurred in swimming pools.
The most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) states that an average of 389 children younger than 15 years old died yearly in pool or spa-related accidents from 2017 through 2019. Seventy-three percent (73%) of those deaths were children younger than five years old. In addition, in 2021, 6,800 non-fatal drowning injuries were treated in hospitals for children younger than 15 years old.
Are Pool Alarms Effective in Preventing Child Drowning Deaths?
In 2000, the CPSC released an evaluation of swimming pool alarms. Staff members working for the CPSC assessed five devices, including a wristband and four water disturbance alarms.
Two of the alarms detected subsurface disturbances. The other two alarms used surface wave detection circuitry.
The test results indicated that subsurface pool alarms performed better on average. They were less likely to give false alarms and were more consistent in alarming. An advantage is that these alarms can be used with solar covers; the surface alarms cannot.
One of the surface alarms performed almost as well as the subsurface alarms, and the wristband alarmed when exposed to a water source or submerged in pool water.
However, the response times for swimming pool alarms can be delayed. Also, alarms may fail to activate if a child falls or jumps into the pool.
What Can We Learn From the Study About Swimming Pool Alarms?
The takeaway is that swimming pool alarms can help prevent drowning deaths for children. However, these alarms are not foolproof.
Adults must turn on and monitor the alarms. They must remember to put the wristband on the child and ensure it works correctly.
Therefore, swimming pool alarms do not take the place of adult supervision as the primary way to avoid swimming pool accidents. But swimming pool alarms combined with barriers and other safety measures can decrease the risk of drowning and swimming pool accidents for children.
The CPSC suggests the following pool safety measures:
- Never leave children unattended in or near a swimming pool. An adult should always be present to monitor children. A person monitoring children should not have any other task, they should not read, nap, play games, or text while watching the pool.
- Enroll children in swimming lessons. Teaching a child to swim can save their life.
- Teach children about pool safety, including staying away from drains and suction outlets. Repair broken or missing drain covers and drains immediately. Do not swim in pools with non-compliant drain covers.
- Install barriers to prevent children from entering a pool area unsupervised. Swimming pool alarms, fences, and covers can help keep children out of pools. In addition, motion sensors located in the pool area can alert adults when someone enters the area.
- Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults. Many community centers, hospitals, and the American Red Cross offer CPR classes.
If you choose a swimming pool alarm or another type of safety device, research the device before purchasing and using it. Make sure you search for independent reviews instead of the reviews provided by the manufacturer.
Florida Safety Device Law for Residential Swimming Pools
Swimming pools are abundant in Florida. Our weather makes swimming possible almost year round. Therefore, there is a good chance your child will be near a swimming pool, even if you do not own a pool.
The Preston de Ibern / McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act requires residential pool owners to take safety measures to prevent accidents and drownings. The law requires all new residential hot tubs, swimming pools, and spas to meet specific safety requirements. Failing to equip a swimming pool as directed by the statute could result in a second-degree misdemeanor charge.
Unfortunately, the law does not prevent all child drowning deaths. In addition to drowning deaths, swimming pool accidents can result in traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. A child could sustain permanent disabilities because of a non-drowning accident or swimming pool accident.
Has Your Child Been Injured in a Swimming Pool Accident?
If your child was injured because of negligence or other wrongdoing, your child might be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages. Your child could receive compensation for economic damages, such as medical bills and future lost wages. They may also receive non-economic damages for their pain and suffering.
Childhood injuries can have long-term effects on the child. They may sustain a permanent impairment, have developmental delays, or develop PTSD. Your child deserves to be compensated for past and future damages.
The best way to protect your child’s best interest is to seek legal counsel from an experienced child injury lawyer. Proving liability in childhood injury cases can be complicated. Therefore, having legal representation for you and your child is essential.
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