Wearable technology helps prevent drownings

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Many parents will take their families to the pool to cool off during the hot summer months, but organizations are urging adults to really keep an eye out.  Drowning is still the leading cause of death for kids under five and a new wearable technology is expected to help prevent that.

It’s called the iSwimBand which a parent could put either on their kid’s wrist or forehead.  The yellow band has a device in side that syncs up with an iPhone, iPod or iTouch.

If a child is in the water for too long, a loud alarm will go off, alerting parents or someone supervising that a kid is possibly in danger.

“In virtually every other recreational event like cycling and skiing, we teach our children to do these things,put additional safety precautions, but when it comes to swimming all we do is teach them to swim with maybe a pair of goggles,” said Paul Newcomb, general manager of Aquatic Safety Concepts.  “The technology now exists to change that, and that’s what iSwimBand does.”

The wearable technology has been on the market for two weeks.

There’s a big push for water safety education because of the summer months and the recent tragedy at Lake Georgetown after two siblings drowned while playing a game.

“We talk about layers of protection, it’s not one thing that’s going to prevent drownings, it’s putting multiple things in place so if one thing fails you have something else there,” said Alissa Magrum, executive director of Colin’s Hope.

The Austin non-profit started after 4-year-old Colin drowned in a pool in 2008. He was ducking in and out of the water with other kids at a family and friend gathering.  There were a number of adults and lifeguards around the pool, but Colin slipped under and later died.

“So many times children drown fast and silently and everyone thinks someone is watching,” said Magrum.  The organization’s mission is to educate parents, teachers and child care providers about the need to always have a watchful eye.



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