TOP 20 devices to prevent child drowning

Child drowning is a constant, high mortality rate accident worldwide, and a tragedy for families who faced with it.

Many cases could be prevented by simple adult attendance, then parents’ self- education about safety of a child near the water and education of children by their parents or qualified instructors would follow.

In any way, an anti-drowning device is not the Number 1 solution, but only the additional aid to help make it better.

Review of anti-drowning devices for children

According to World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide. There are an estimated 236 000 annual drowning deaths worldwide [1].

Back in 1898, G.B. Shepherd has patented one of the first model of an anti-drowning device.

Image source: unknown

“A drowning man will clutch at a straw”, – the popular saying says… But who can protect a small child from drowning? Anti-drowning devices are one of the option to prevent a tragedy.

Age categories of children

  • newborn (ages 0–4 weeks)
  • infant (ages 4 weeks – 1 year)
  • toddler (ages 12 months-24 months)
  • pre-schooler (ages 2–5 years)
  • school-aged child (ages 6–13 years)
  • adolescent (ages 14–19)

Categories of anti-drowning devices:

(a) inflating, (b) alarming, (c) non-inflating and (d) some other.

inflating anti-drowning device Inflating anti-drowning devices

This group includes devices that lift the human body above the water surface and are activated when, in the event of danger of drowning, a person activates the rescue mechanism himself.

When a special button is pressed or a special cord is pulled out, the compact device is inflated with gas (such as carbon dioxide), thus lifting the human body to the surface of the water.

The tools are widely used in the world, but their main drawback is that precise coordination of human actions is necessary for the tool to work.

In addition, most of them do not ensure proper breathing above the water surface, even when the device is activated correctly. For these reasons, in times of panic, loss of consciousness, or shock, they may not be justified because they do not ensure a safe stay in the water.

These devices are intended for adults or advanced swimmers adolescents and are not suitable for school-aged children, pre-schoolers and toddlers.

alarming anti-drowning device - whistle Alarming anti-drowning devices

This group includes the devices that signal the unsafe presence in the water. These tools are classified according to the principle of operation from extremely simple and cheap to technologically advanced and quite expensive.

The simplest one is a special whistle by which a person can signal their unsafe presence in the water is (made so that the water does not interfere with the whistling) and may costs just a few euros. Unsafe presence in the water can also be reported through a variety of brightly colored flags, lights, special fireworks or sets of these tools.

The measures are only intended to attract the attention of rescuers and do not save from drowning directly.

Indoor swimming pools use signaling devices that signal when a person is under water for a long time or when a person falls into the water. After the alarm goes off, it is important that rescuers or parents respond to the alarm as soon as possible and pull the diver out of the water.

These devices are suitable for small children, but have only an alarm function, do not save the drowning directly and do not solve the problem of childcare.

non-inflating anti-drowning device Non-inflating anti-drowning devices

This group includes the devices that do not change their shape in water. These include lifebuoys, life jackets, inflatable sleeves and other similar devices.

These measures ensure human buoyancy on the water surface, and are widely used in practice.

Their main disadvantages are that they restrict movement, are reluctant to be worn by children, and may be hot and sweaty when worn, especially during a sunny summer day.

Inflatable sleeves are widely used for children who are already familiar with water attractions to increase their confidence in playing in the water.

However, they can be uncomfortable to wear, they can squeeze child’s hands if the air is inflated too much, and if the air is inflated too little, buoyancy is not guaranteed. In addition, this measure does not ensure free breathing on the surface of the water, the child may overdrink water.

swimming education Other measures to prevent drowning

All the above-mentioned means are man-made material devices, but there are other means to ensure human safety in water. These include a variety of educational tools: books for children and adults, safe water lessons, lifeguard swimming courses, and more.

The Newfoundland breed-rescuer is a long-known and trusted human companion who saves children and adults from the water. It is important to note that the purchase of this breed of dog is very expensive, as well as constant costs of its training, feeding, vet, etc. More so, this large-size dog needs living space and constant attention.


Detailed information on the devices to ensure the safety of the child in the water is provided below, indicating the name of the device, approximate price, online link to the primary source of information, the principle of operation, and main functions and shortcomings.

All the devices described in this article are swimming aid products and cannot be used as a life-saving devices. Children always require the supervision by an adult.

Devices that cause the body to rise above the surface of the water (inflating devices)

1. Kingii

Price 80 EUR

Principle of operation

When necessary, press the button and the device swells.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Only the hand on which the device is inflated is lifted above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

2. STAF anti-drowning device

self-inflating anti-drowning device Price 210 EUR

Principle of operation

The device needs to be activated by opening a small box on the hand.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Only the hand on which the device is inflated is lifted above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

3. Onyx M-24 Manual Inflatable Belt Pack Life Jacket

Price 60-70 EUR

Principle of operation

The life jacket inflates after pulling a special cord.

Disadvantages

  • Requires precise coordination of actions (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Ensures proper breathing only after correct instruction (putting on the inflated vest on the head, tying the fastening cord)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

4. Swim IT Deployment

Price 115 EUR

Principle of operation

The device inflates after pulling a special cord.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

5. The Water-Rat

inflating anti-drowning device Price 40-70 EUR

Principle of operation

The device inflates after pulling a special cord.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

6. LifeShirt by AEGIS

self-inflating anti-drowning T-shirtPrice 120 EUR

Principle of operation

Inflates automatically when the body falls into the water, or can be intentionally inflated by pulling the cord. Ensures buoyancy and safe breathing. Lightweight, comfortable water safety. Suitable for adolescents.

Disadvantages

Special T-shirts must be worn which may bring discomfort on a hot sunny day.

7. Inflatable Life-Saving Bracelet

self-inflating bracelet Principle of operation

The device inflates after pulling a bracelet.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

8. SWIMSOS Anti Drowning Swimwear

Principle of operation

The device inflates after pulling a special cord.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee safe breathing above the water surface
  • Requires precise action coordination (may not be justified in case of panic, loss of consciousness or shock)
  • Not suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Devices to alarm about unsafe presence in water (inflating devices)

All alarming devices have the same main disadvantages: these devices only have an alarm function and do not save from drowning directly

1. Coral drowning detection system

Principle of operation

Identifies the body underwater if it stays there longer than set in the system and sends a signal (alarm principle).

Disadvantages

  • Suitable for indoor pools only
  • Does not replace child care by adults, it only serves as an aid

2. My Buddy Tag with Silicone Wristband

Price 15 EUR

alarming water safety device for children on a wristPrinciple of operation

A waterproof device which alerts you if the child wearing My Buddy Tag® has fallen into a pool or lake. Location detection and monitoring (bluetooth operation principle). The child can press the button to report about a danger. The appliance notifies you when a child falls into the water. The device is interfaced with most mobile phones.

3. BlueFox ST1 bracelet, USA patent

alarming anti-drowning device on a wristPrinciple of operation

Fits all sizes from toddlers to adults. Use without installation. The integrated lithium polymer batteries guarantee continuous monitoring for several weeks without recharging. Works in a home pool, on vacation at the sea or lake and wherever you want to be in the water.

4. Blue Fox Pool Safety system

passive anti-drowning protectionPrinciple of operation

The device monitors a pool 24 hours per day. The depth and time when the system will start are programmed. Once the system is activated, the balloon inflates to the water surface, indicating the location of the person under the water and signalling at a frequency of 100 Db. Both active and passive protections are available

5. iSwimband Personal Drowning Detection System for iOS

alarming anti-drowning device for children Price 30 EUR

Principle of operation Alarms when a child is underwater for too long.

Devices which do not change their shape in water (always inflated)

1. Kids Pool Floats, Swim Vest, Foldable Swim Vest Jacket

Price 25 EUR

Principle of operation

This swimming vest can provide children with good buoyancy in the water, enable them to experience the slow movement of skipping rope on land, and provide children with the feeling of space walking. Suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

2. SwimSchool Deluxe TOT Swimmer for Kids

Price 15 EUR

Principle of operation

Properly and fully inflate before use. Designed to reduce basic adult tension while they teach children to swim. Suitable for toddlers, comfortable to move.

Disadvantages

  • Without adult supervision if the wheel turns over the child may end up head underwater
  • The wheel is inflated by mouth

3. Floater sleeves

Price 8 EUR

Principle of operation

Properly and fully inflate before use. It is suggested arm bands were blown up about 70% air for more comfortable feeling. Helps to float on water with active hand work. Brightly colors for better visibility. Soft plastic material for maximum comfort. Suitable for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Disadvantages

  • All inflatable products have a damage rate which is detected 1-5% of the air leakage rate based on 1000
  • May be uncomfortable to wear, may squeeze child‘s hands if blown up too much
  • If blown up too little, buoyancy is not guaranteed
  • Designed to increase children’s confidence on the water
  • Suitable only for children who are already familiar with water attractions

4. Training Board

Price 20 EUR

Principle of operation

Does not absorb water, provides hands freedom when swimming and putting the board under the abdomen. For pre-schoolers and school-aged children.

Disadvantages

  • It would float away once released from the hands, and the child may left without a helper
  • Suitable only for those learning to swim when progress is visible

5. Pool rider

Price 10 EUR

Principle of operation

Good protection during long play in the water, suitable for toddlers.

Disadvantages

  • All inflatable products have a damage rate which is detected 1-5% of the air leakage rate based on 1000; impedes movements

6. Nordic Flash Waterproof Camera Float

Price 15 EUR

Principle of operation

No rescue device, but can be used indirectly for location where rescue needs to be detected. Comfortable floating strap that easily slips onto your wrist.

Disadvantages

  • Does not perform a drowning rescue function
  • Not suitable for toddlers, pre-schoolers and school-aged children

7. Saftybay Swim Floating Belt

non-inflating anti-drowning belt Price 6 EUR

Principle of operation

Used only when entering the water on purpose (not accidentally), ensures buoyancy, tank construction, for different torso volumes, ergonomic design (device is soft and comfortable). Suitable only for those who already know how to swim.

Disadvantages

  • Does not guarantee that water will not be overdrunk

8. Baby Swimming Float

Price 30 EUR

Principle of operation

Baby float for pool come with a breathable and removable UPF50+ sun canopy to protects baby’s skin away from sun. Double-layered Air Chamber, raised front, widened sides, shoulder strap, abdomen support, keeping infant in place to avoid forward overturning, flip over or sliding out. Designed for toddlers.

Disadvantages

  • Not intended for outdoor water bodies

9. Inflatable vest

Price 10 EUR

Principle of operation

Three air chambers ensure floating on the water surface.

Disadvantages

  • During use, one of the chambers may swell or rupture
  • A child wearing it can be hot while playing near water
  • Not comfortable while playing on the beach near water

This article does not contain affiliate links. This article is not sponsored. It is written for educational and informational purposes only.

References

  1. Drowning, 27 April 2021, by World Health Organization, online source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drowning

@ Dr. Alisa Palatronis, 2021

4 thoughts on “TOP 20 devices to prevent child drowning

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