If you're happy tracking your kid on the walk to school, you'll probably feel OK about tracking their safety in the pool. That's the thinking behind SEAL SwimSafe, a new swimming wearable for kids that alerts parents and lifeguards when they might be in danger.
It's a connected collar worn round the neck while in the pool and using RF tech it sends alarms to a hub, placed by parents or lifeguards, to alert them when kids are in the water (green light), submerged for 20 seconds (blue light) for beginners, submerged for 45 seconds (purple light) and when the device is away from the hub (orange light).
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The Hub (which looks like a plastic cup) checks in with the bands every few seconds and if a child is submerged longer than the setting, strobing lights and sounds act as a warning.
The SwimSafe isn't designed to replace lifeguards but instead help them do their jobs. So YMCAs in the US, for instance, have been trialling the system at pools and summer camps and found that it resulted in fewer drownings.
"Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental death for kids under 5 years of age in the US," said Graham Snyder, the inventor of the device and CEO of the startup. "We saw how YMCA's were giving kids bands to indicate their level of swimming proficiency. I wondered if there was a way to bring technology to the table to provide another level of security."
Some parents might not love the fact that it's literally a collar but we guess this way, young swimmers' limbs are freed up to keep themselves afloat. It's not too tight around the neck either, from the press pics, and no doubt with the colourful LEDS, kids wouldn't mind wearing it.
The SwimSafe was crowdfunded on Indiegogo and is now available to buy (for $379 for one band, one hub and one charger) via Amazon Launchpad. That's pretty steep for parents though if it keeps kids safe then people will pay. The commercial system can be used to monitor up to 60 swimmers at once.
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