WakeMed doctor develops sensor to prevent drownings

WakeMed doctor develops sensor to prevent drownings (Image 1)
WakeMed doctor develops sensor to prevent drownings (Image 1)

Drowning is the number one killer of young children — even in their neighborhood pool with their parents nearby.

But a new device developed by a doctor at WakeMed could alert parents well before it’s too late.

“It takes a good amount of time to drown,” explained Dr. Graham Snyder, a WakeMed ER doctor. “The problem is that people don’t know their child is drowning until it’s too late.”

Snyder said far too many children don’t survive, so he developed the SEAL SwimSafe, which sounds a 100-decibal siren when someone is in danger of drowning.

“When children are in distress there are characteristic movements that they do,” he said. “Bobbing up and down tips the computer system off.”

The device is worn like a necklace around a child or adult’s neck, and the SEAL Hub monitors how long that band should be plunged underwater based on age. It also detects bobbing motion.

“If that time limit goes beyond what a 10-year-old should be able to hold his breath, then it would go into a warning state and a full scale alarm,” Snyder said. “This alarm would happen literally minutes before an actual drowning would occur.”

For a 10-year-old, that’s about 35 seconds underwater. If it goes beyond that, Snyder explained there “would be an unmistakable alert … it’s as loud as an 18 wheeler driving through the pool.”

The SEAL SwimSafe is available for pre-order through the company’s website and will ship before Feb. 15. The system starts at $199.

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