Pool safety devices: Do these actually work?

It can happen in a second -- your child is standing next to you one minute and then they wander off into deep danger.

It can happen in a second -- your child is standing next to you one minute and then they wander off into deep danger.

That’s what happened to Olympic skier Bode Miller’s daughter, Emiline. The 19-month-old wandered away from adults and was found unresponsive in the pool. Emeline died from drowning even though she was only in the water a short amount of time.

RELATED: Pediatricians warn of higher drowning risk for children during coronavirus pandemic

Aside from swim lessons, there are practical steps parents and neighbors who may not have children can take to minimize the danger.

With so many of us working from home, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on your children near your pool, your neighbor’s pool or the community pool.

Last year, Local 4 tested out the Safety Turtle, which we found at a local pool store. It’s a wristband that has a sensor inside it that sets off an alarm when it detects its wearer enters water.

We found the Safety Turtle took a few minutes to sound the alarm.

We ran into the same problem with the Yard Gard Alarm -- both the Safety Turtle and the gate alarm have newer models available and that’s the key -- make sure you’re getting the newest technology and read reviews.

The Pooleye Pool Alarm can be set up on the side of your pool, the stairs, or a railing.

When set on the low setting it look a while for the alarm to sound, when turned up it sensed movement quickly.

Bottom line

Products can malfunction and not save lives. No product beats keeping eyes on the pool.

Here’s some advice from the experts:

  • Assign a “Pool Watcher” -- Let’s face it, when there are many adults around a pool, everyone thinks someone is watching., but that’s not always the case. Assign someone and make it known. You can even give them a bracelet or necklace to wear. That adult’s job is to watch the pool at all times. If that person needs a break, make sure they tap in another adult to be the “Pool Watcher”.
  • An Arm’s Reach Away -- Stay in arm’s reach of kids. The person watching over the swimmers should always be close by the pool, not watching from afar.
  • Buddy System -- Make sure kids are always swimming with a buddy who can get help if they start to struggle.
  • Whistle Alert -- Hang a whistle in the backyard near the pool so the buddy can blow it if a child starts to drown. Parties can get loud and sometimes it can be difficult for a child’s voice to be heard.
  • No One in the Pool -- Remind your kids, no one goes in or near a pool until an adult is there and states out loud they are watching and ready for them to jump in.
  • Put the Toys Away -- Too many floatation devices in the pool can be dangerous and can trap someone underneath.
  • Secure Your Pool -- Completely surround your pool with a 4-feet high fence or barrier with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Place a safety cover on the pool when not in use. Remove any ladders or steps used to get in.
  • Swim Jackets -- Have inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Clean and Clear -- Keep your pool water clean and clear. Make sure you’re maintaining proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration.
  • Establish and Enforce Rules -- Rules and safe behaviors, such as ‘no diving’ and ‘no running’ should always be enforced each and every time kids are getting into the pool.
  • CPR -- If you own a pool, make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond to an emergency by taking water safety, first aid, and CPR courses. First aid and safety equipment should be in the house as well.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.