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Pool alarms that don't do the job

May. 8, 2006

More than 300 children drown in swimming pools each year. Pool alarms are supposed to alert you if someone goes into the water without you knowing. But Consumer Reports latest tests on six pool alarms found serious problems with several of them.

According to industry's voluntary standards, the pool alarm has to sound within 20 seconds after an 18-pound mannequin falls into a pool. But repeatedly when Consumer Reports dropped an 18-pound mannequin into a pool, three alarms couldn't be counted on to sound within the 20 seconds.

Consumer Reports has rated these three alarms "Not Acceptable." They are the Pool SOS, model PA-100; Pool Patrol, model PA-30; and Pool Eye, model PE-21. advertisement

Consumer Reports did find alarms that sounded within the 20 seconds. And they didn't trigger false alarms--a problem with some pool alarms. The two recommended alarms are both from Poolguard. For in-ground pools, Consumer Reports recommends Poolguard model PGRM-2 for $225. For above-ground pools, there is Poolguard model PGRM-AG, which costs $140.

But Consumer Reports cautions no alarm is a substitute for important safety measures. Pools should be enclosed by a fence. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching. And children should never be in or around a pool without adult supervision.

Consumer Reports also has a caution about large inflatable pools. They've become increasingly popular in part because they're so inexpensive. But they hold so much water people often don't empty them out after each use. Unless you have a fence and other safety measures in place, they pose a deadly danger. You can get more information on these pools at
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Call 12 For Action
Copyright 2006 Arizona Republic

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