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Are Pool Alarms Effective in Preventing Child Drowning?

Ponte Vedra Beach weather is beautiful enough for homeowners to leave their pools open year-round, a welcome respite from the hot Florida sun. But with pool ownership comes responsibility, too. 

Homeowners with a pool have a duty of care to help reduce the chances of someone drowning in the pool. And for families with small children who are not able to swim alone, securing the pool against these children trying to swim alone can be a challenge.

Many pool owners have fences and covers for their pools, but some feel that more safety measures are necessary and choose to install a pool alarm. Just how effective are pool alarms in preventing children from drowning?

What Kind of Pool Sensors Are There? 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study to analyze the effectiveness of pool alarm systems. It evaluated two types of pool alarms. The first type incorporates subsurface sensors, detecting someone in the water. The second type uses surface sensors that detect the presence of someone at the pool’s surface.

Surface sensors float on the pool’s surface, detecting when someone breaks the water’s surface and sounding the alarm. Subsurface sensors are mounted to the sides of the pool, just a few inches below the water level. These detect motion in the pool, such as someone getting in. 

Both types of sensors have remote receivers homeowners can place in the house. The remote receivers set off an alarm when the pool sensors are activated, usually by the motion of water, like when a small child falls into the pool.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Pool Sensors

One of the main objectives of the CPSC’s study was to see if either type of alarm system alerted for a false positive, such as a foreign object like a tree limb falling into the pool, or if the sensors mistook regular water motion for someone being in the pool. The CPSC’s report noted that the subsurface sensors were more reliable than the surface sensors, which were shown to alert more false positives.

The study does note the effectiveness of each alarm when installed correctly and properly monitored. However, it also notes that pool alarms are not a replacement for other pool safety measures, like sturdy child-proof pool fencing and adult supervision of children near the pool at all times. Additionally, a pool sensor would not necessarily absolve a homeowner of liability in case of an accidental drowning. 

Furthermore, the test noted that the alarm response time between the triggering event and the sound ranged from 7 to 30 seconds. This depended on the distance between the alarm receiver and the person’s entry point into the water. 

A distance of 35 feet or less is ideal for timely alarms. In the study, if the distance between the alarms and the receiver was greater than 35 feet, the alarm response times were significantly delayed, with some systems not activating for over two minutes.

A child can drown in the space of five minutes, and even if they are rescued before that, the lack of oxygen to the brain can cause severe, often irreparable, brain damage. There is also a consideration of how long it takes for someone to hear the alarm, recognize it, then make it to the pool to take action.

So Is a Pool Alarm System a Good Investment for Ponte Vedra Beach Pool Owners?

Any type of pool safety measure will be better than no safety measures at all. Pool alarms, especially subsurface ones, could be a great early warning for a child falling into the pool. But pool alarms are never a substitute for attentive supervision. 

Contact the Jacksonville Personal Injury Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, please contact the Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra personal injury law firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

We serve Duval County, St. Johns County, and its surrounding areas:

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 396-1100

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202
(904) 822-4225

Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Ponte Vedra
480 Town Plaza Ave #130,
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081
(904) 675-1167

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