"Does Safety Turtle undermine supervision"?
26th May 2009


Here are some good talking points in response to this citing, made by both the Lifesaving Society of Ontario, and now the Pool Council of Canada.

“Rodney Taylor, Vice President of the Pool Council of Canada seems to think kids pulled out of pools wearing a Turtle aren’t really lives saved, because caregivers would have been watching otherwise. This reminds me of the opposition to car seat belts in the 50s – that people would drive less carefully wearing them. This is not and has never been the trend. Seat belts, like Safety Turtle, do not prevent accidents, they only mitigate their effect. Immersion accidents, like car accidents, are still serious and do damage. People use the Turtle like they use a seat belt. It’s really very simple!”

Bob Lyons, Terrapin

“At no point did you ever suggest eliminating parental supervision, but Mr. Taylor seems to believe that protection is some kind of zero sum exercise where adding one layer of protection detracts from another. People in Canada and people in the US are all still people and people tend to behave the same wherever they are. In the US, studies have shown that parental supervision alone can and does fail. We’re all aware of the statistic that 69% of all drowning incidents occur when one or both parents were responsible for supervision. Human beings are prone to error and lapses of judgment. It’s irresponsible to think that supervision alone is enough to prevent drowning and near drowning incidents. That’s like saying we don’t need seat belts, we should all just drive perfect all the time. On top of that, we know that in nearly 70% of drowning incidents children were not thought to be in the pool area. That makes his solution of always being in the water with your child a bit weak.

The idea of a “false sense of security” is always ridiculous. You don’t “rely on an alarm,” or a pool fence for that matter, and let your children run about unsupervised. Let’s use some common sense. Putting on my seatbelt and equipping an airbag does not embolden me with a sudden “false sense of security” so I suddenly drive like a maniac. Installing a security alarm at my house does not provide me with a “false sense of security” that prompts me to leave all my doors and windows open when I go out of town. Likewise, you don’t set your two year old in the backyard to play by herself while you go inside and do chores just because she’s wearing a Safety Turtle alarm. If anything, the sight of the Safety Turtle, the act of putting it on the child, is a constant reminder that water is a danger. It keeps safety present in your mind when it may have ordinarily slipped.

“Eric Lupton, Lifesaver Pool fence”

If organisations like RLSSA can make a comment that one reason that they do notlike the turtle is that they want to prevent the child getting to the waterin the first place, as falling into a pool can be traumatic, then it is abit odd that they still recommend parents should engage in CPR training. Ofcourse, every parent should know first-aid, IN CASE a child somehow getspast the supervising parent, but if supervision is as perfect as they wantit to be (in fairy-land!) then no parent should ever have to resuscitate achild. If they are prepared to allow for the fact that a child COULD getpast the watchful eye of a parent somehow and therefore CPR training isessential, surely we then have to make allowance for the fact that a Turtlethat warns the parent BEFORE CPR is required MUST BE a part of the drowningprevention process.

“Steven Lewsen, Safety Store Australia

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