Does the pool alarm protect my child from drowning?

Each year, more than 4,000 people in the US drown, making it the 4th leading cause of death, according to the American Institute for Preventive Medicine. With a third of children under the age of 14, something as simple as a pool alarm can save thousands of lives each year.

The concept behind a pool alarm is quite simple; they are a device that you place in the water and it will monitor the water for movement. If motion is detected, an audible alarm will sound to alert you. Since a child can drown in the time it takes to go get a glass of water, a pool alarm should be mandatory in every swimming pool in America.

When choosing a pool alarm, you’ll want to consider a smart pool alarm, such as the Pool Protector, one that analyzes the surface of the water and detects minute movement, such as when a child or dog falls into the water. They usually have some kind of motion or motion detection that uses an integrated circuit to control the alarm.

You’ll also want one that’s battery operated, because you don’t want to run an electrical cord to something in the water. It should have a low battery warning alarm so you know when it’s time to replace the batteries. This works on one 9 volt battery; choose a lithium-ion battery for long life.

The alarm is useless if it goes off every time you go swimming. You’ll want to look for an alarm that has some sort of bypass key that can turn off the pool alarm while you’re swimming. When you’re done, use the bypass key to put the alarm in guard mode.

The Pool Protector covers 32 square meters of pool, or approximately 104 square feet. If your pool is larger, we recommend adding another alarm for good coverage. While it rests on the side of the pool, with a pin keeping it from moving, it has a throat, similar to an elephant’s trunk that extends into the water and will work with pools that have skimmers in the wall. Since the alarm depends on making contact with the water, check your levels so that the alarm does not go less than 4 inches into the water.

You want to make sure you don’t place it too close to the filter’s return line, as the turbulence can set off the alarm. Make sure return lines point down instead of up.

The alarm has a remote control with a 100 dB alarm that sounds when motion is detected. Half the block will hear this alarm so you know when someone falls in. It should be kept within 300 feet of the alarm. A pool alarm should not replace a lifeguard or supervision. Never leave a child alone near a swimming pool, even to go get a glass of water or answer the phone. Then you usually have a drowning.

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If you have a pool and you have children or grandchildren, one of the best things you could ever do to protect them is to install an inexpensive pool alarm. Of all preschoolers who drown, 70% are at the hands of one or both parents; don’t let your child be a victim.