When Meghan Meeks heard that a new safety system would be used in her son’s swim class at the Carlisle Family YMCA, she was curious about it.
And when she saw it being used firsthand, she thought it was a great idea.
“I think it’s always good to have another kind of layer of security just in case someone turns a back or jumps in when no one’s watching or something like that,” Meeks said.
It is called the SEAL SwimSafe Drowning Detection System and it uses smart swim bands to alert lifeguards if a child is underwater too long. The YMCA is the first facility of its kind to use the system in this area.
“The lower it goes in the water, the less frequency that’s going to the transponder, and that’s how it knows this band is in distress, and so it will start timing,” said Justin Rose, of the YMCA.
The band can signal a problem in as little as three seconds. For more experienced swimmers, they can set a longer alert time.
“We want something to add to that layer of protection so we know that when they are in the pool, they are safe,” Rose said.
It’s especially helpful during camps or when people rent the pool for birthday parties.
“Because those groups are outside groups, we don’t necessarily know their history or their swimming ability and often time they’re there with a single adult that’s a chaperone, not their parents,” Rose said.
Colten Deibler, 7, said he understands why he’s wearing it. He also said it doesn’t bother him.
“The water makes it so light that it’s literally just floating on you,” Deibler said.
Meeks said her son didn’t seem to mind either.
“He did show me when I first got here that he has a new necklace, but other than that he hasn’t touched it and it doesn’t seem to bother him,” Meeks said. “He kind of forgets that it’s on.”
The system was designed by a pediatric emergency physician and father in 2016.