Roughly 300 children below the age of 5 die from drowning in the U.S. each year. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening in your backyard is by installing a pool alarm system, which will -- in most instances -- also ward off fence hoppers and pool trespassers. Pool alarms differ in their designs, and may feature above- or below-waterline disruption sensors. In some cases, the sensor may even be incorporated into a bracelet that a child must wear.
MG International Sensor Espio
According to Good Housekeeping magazine, one of the best features of the Espio is that you can switch it from “armed” mode (wherein the alarm will sound if the surface of the water is broken) to “swim mode” via a wireless remote control. For added safety, anyone deciding to change the alarm to “swim” mode from inside the pool must use a magnetic key, which makes it unlikely that young children can bypass the alarm. Another useful feature of the Espio is that it automatically arms when the pool is not in use.
Good Housekeeping recommends the Poolguard PGRM-2 as one of the best and least expensive pool alarms on the market. The alarm becomes armed automatically once it is in the water. Unlike the Espio, the PGRM-2 does not offer a “swim” mode, which means you must physically remove the alarm’s sensor when people are swimming, then put it back in place afterward to arm it. One drawback of the PGRM-2 is that children can easily bypass the alarm by holding down the disarming button and removing the unit from the pool.
RJE Technologies AquaGuard
Similar to the Espio, the AquaGuard features a “swim mode” and will automatically rearm after people have left the water. However, this pool alarm does not use a remote or magnetic key, but instead relies on a pass code for manual arming and disarming.
First Alert A100 Safety Band
Unlike pool alarm systems that rely on in-water sensors, the First Alert A100 Aqua Alert Water Activated Safety Band is an all-in-one unit that a child wears around her wrist. The Safety Band works by producing a 110-decibel alarm when it -- and the child wearing it -- enters water, be it a pool, pond, river or lake. One downside of the system is that your child must put the band on, and keep it on, whenever she is near open water.
Safety Turtle Base Station / Wristband Alarm
Unlike wristbands that individually sound off when exposed to water, the Safety Turtle wristbands signal a base station. This station includes one bracelet and is typically kept inside where parents can monitor it. Additional wristbands for the Safety Turtle base station are also available.
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