At only eight months old, my son is a true beach bum. He loves the water and all he ever wants to do is go in it. He can’t walk yet, but when he does I imagine he’ll be running away from me just to dip his feet in the water.
Although I plan on never letting him out of my sight, I know that life happens; I can’t always have my eyes on him. The thought of him getting into the water unsupervised gives me chills, and I can’t bear to think of what the outcome would be.
What is iSwimband?
The iSwimband puts some of my fears at ease. For a non-swimmer like my son, you can put the band around a child’s wrist and receive an alert on your phone telling you if your child contacts water. Older children can wear a headband or clip sensor programmed to alert you when they become submerged for too long. You preset the time limit and the alert isn’t merely a quiet “ping” on your phone- it’s a blaring alarm for everyone to hear.
iSwimband for Non-swimmers
Right now, I find the wrist-band most appealing. My son spends several hours a day at a house with a pool, and as his mobility improves I’m getting more concerned. With the band on, my son can’t sneak into the pool undetected. The free iSwim app works with the band to let me know when he’s entered the water. It looks comfortable enough for him to wear a few hours at a time.
Though it seems like a great idea, I can’t help but wonder how long of a delay there is between a child entering the water and a parent receiving the alert. In such life-threatening situations, seconds make a difference. It’d be nice to know how much of a lag there is between events.
The iSwim band is considered to be tamper-resistant. I’m not sure how resistant it is when you consider that kids tend to pick and pull at things on their hands. It does tighten with an adjustable loop and I’d imagine that most kids would have a very hard time figuring a way out of it, unless they’re an escape artist with Houdini-like skills.
iSwimband for Swimmers
I can see how the headband could be even more useful for swimmers. It’s hard to keep your eyes on a child swimming, especially in crowded pools or a choppy ocean. The sensor gives you a little room for error.
If you lose sight of your child for a split second, you can look at the app. The app shows the names and time limits of the children with bands and will show you if someone needs attention. Although the alarm will sound when a child’s been under for too long, it’s comforting being able to look at the app and see for yourself.
With the option to clip the sensor onto your child’s goggles or to clip onto the included headband, you can keep the sensor securely in place. It’s almost like having a second pair of eyes…almost.
For parents with multiple kids, I cannot imagine the difficulty of a beach trip or pool day. The app allows you to monitor up to eight bands at once, a very useful feature.
Reviews and Final Thoughts
In their own words, iSwim reminds parents to never let anyone swim alone and that the device is not a replacement for diligent supervision.
NEVER let anyone swim alone. Not intended as a replacement for diligent supervision.
But for parents like Rachel Lister, this device is a no-brainer. It’s easy to judge other parents, call the device a lazy way out of keeping an eye on your kids, or worse. But as Rachel found out, it isn’t all fun and games at the pool. Her daughter had played in the pool all day with a life jacket. Rachel took the jacket off to dry her before leaving the pool. Rachel says,
“I left her sitting on the deck chair as I packed up a few things. We had six adults standing there so I felt like I could relax a bit. After all, what could go wrong with so much supervision? The truth is, you can NEVER relax when you have kids around the water. Never.”
Rachel’s daughter wandered off during those few moments and found her way to the hot tub. They found the toddler at the bottom of the hot tub, not breathing. In the end, they were able to save her but many kids are not so lucky.
iSwim is not meant to let you relax, it’s meant to be an added precaution.
On the downside, the app only has two written reviews, neither of which is good. One reviewer complained that the app didn’t register the band and another said the app didn’t work on her phone. It seems like team iSwim is still working out some kinks with the app, but this wouldn’t stop me from trying it.
As the iSwim Band is a new product, it’s hard to determine how effective it is. It may not be perfect, but it seems like a great way to give your child added safety. I know that I’m willing to try anything that can improve my son’s well-being.