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New technology helps protect children from pool drownings

Posted at 4:22 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 17:56:51-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- You can't forget this video.

Earlier this summer, WPTV spoke to a Jupiter dad leaping to the rescue after his toddler ran through an open pool gate and fell into the water. The entire incident was caught on the family's home security cameras.

Local swim schools are busy reminding parents how to safeguard their homes and children from drowning and now there’s new technology to help with that.

West Palm Beach mom Tia Robinson is getting her baby son Zachari started early by learning to swim at Small Fish Big Fish Swim School off Pike Road.

“The earlier you introduce them and get them familiar with the water, the better," she said.

His mom is also learning the importance of pool safety.

“Accidents happen and you hear stories all the time, you don’t want to face that nightmare," she said.

Along with hands on training in the water school founder Melissa Taylor is showcasing the latest technology she’s found outside of the water to prevent drowning.

“Here we teach about 700 kids a week to learn how to swim," she said. “It’s the number one cause of death for children under the age of 4. Drowning happens in seconds.”

She's found a fingerprint gate lock for your pool fence. There are several brands, but one she's been using in particular is called Tapplock.

“Technology is always improving and we want to utilize it," she said. "It’s really important to have those barriers.”

Parents can use any of their fingerprints to lock their pool gate with a touchpad directly on the lock. Up to 500 different prints from different people can be stored on each device.

“You can have mom dad, grandpa, babysitter," said Taylor.

The lock also syncs up to your smartphone, which can controls the lock through the tap of a button on the Tapplock app.

“You can look at the app and tell who’s entered because it matches a name to a fingerprint," said Taylor.

Kerin Lovett of Royal Palm Beach wants to get one for her pool fence at home to keep her kids safe.

“We already have fingerprint access for our phones, why not have it for the pool as well?” she said. “Having this extra level of security is great. We’re always looking for just another barrier between the pool and the kids.”

Taylor still encourages swimming lessons as top priority for priority for parents.

“Kids need to learn how to swim and parents need to know CPR,” she said.

But Robinson said she has peace of mind knowing there’s an extra layer of protection around the water.

“There’s absolutely no way that a kid would be able to get in without you being aware of the situation," she said. “Just in case he stumbled in the pool or just being in the water, we know he’s at least safe and learning the survival techniques beforehand.”