An increasing number of localities are requiring
swimming pool alarms for homeowners with
either above or in-ground pools. Each year more than 350 children are victims
of drowning, and another 2,600 head to the
emergency room because of near-drowning accidents.
Pool alarms come in different
work by sensing some combination
presence or movement (waves):
- Floating alarms: alert when someone falling
in causes the alarm, which floats on the
surface of the pool, to sway side to side.
This style can give a false alarm if it or
the water is blown in windy weather; it can
fail to sound if the child or animal fails
to make a sufficient wake when entering the
- Underwater alarms: alerts when it senses
waves underwater. Tend to perform very well
in government tests, but does not detect
all pool entries.
- Personal alarms: typically a wristband alarm
worn by a child that alerts when it gets
wet. Does not sense the presence of anyone
not wearing a wristband and may also be activated
by other water sources (such as washing hands).
While these alarms can save lives, they should
never be relied upon as the sole defense
against drowning since they provide an alert
rather than prevention. Pool owners should
erect proper fencing, keep gates locked,
supervise small children and animals in the
pool vicinity, and keep floatation devices
nearby. Pool covers are also helpful, and
can be used in conjunction with underwater