Turning the tides on child drowning
Rebecca Wear Robinson
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Safety Turtle

by Rebecca Wear Robinson on June 13, 2012

Bob Lyons is determined to save people from drowning. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bob this week and learning more. Bob has a background in electronics and engineering, specifically in radio communications. Turning those skills towards a water safety device was prompted by two events. First, moving into a house with a pool with two young children of his own and, tragically, the daughter of a friend was trapped under a pool cover for 20 minutes and suffered permanent brain damage. Seeing how quickly drowning can occur made a lasting impression on Bob. He decided his work expertise could make a difference, and Safety Turtle was born.

Safety Turtle is a device that straps onto a child’s wrist. When the device is exposed to water it sends a signal to a base station and triggers an alarm. Why a turtle? Bob’s children were fans of Franklin the Turtle and Bob decided that turtles were a good role model – they don’t move fast, but they get the job done – just like Safety Turtle, one of my favorite ‘keep kids safe’ technologies. It’s not just a cute green turtle though, the radio technology in the Turtle is extremely sophisticated with a very sensitive sensor and sending a signal 200 feet, and in some external circumstances, up to 1/2 mile. It lasts 3-5 years and the battery can’t be replaced, but it will get your child through the most dangerous years around pools, ages 1-5. You can buy your Safety Turtle at a number of retails or online.

It’s not just children at risk of drowning however, and Safety Turtle has all the bases covered. Thousands of dogs drown every year and Safety Turtle has a new strap with secure velcro that can be attached to a dog’s collar. There are also adult applications – Alzheimer’s patients, mentally challenged adults, autistic children and adults, and anyone on a boat. I know I require a lifejacket whenever we’re on deck, but I’d love the Safety Turtle as another layer of protection when we’re sailing.

Safety Turtle also has an exciting new product called Turtle SOS that was designed specifically for dock workers and others who work in and around water which is a highly effective tool in the quiver of any risk-manager. Whereas, for the safety of a child, the Safety Turtle has to have a hair-trigger response which even a good splash can trigger, the Turtle SOS has to be submerged before the alarm sounds, which cuts the number of ‘false alarms’, the investigation of which can cut into workplace productivity. Although parents might be tempted to avoid ‘false alarms’ from running through the sprinkler, Turtle SOS is not recommended for children since a small child could disable the device with the creative use of a tool, gum or play-doh covering the sensor holes.

Kudos to Bob for applying science and technology so effectively and positively to help save kids (and others) from drowning!

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