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  • Writer's pictureWAVE


Norwalk, CT. - The device looks like a simple headband, but it has a superpower: it can help save  someone you love from drowning.   

Drownings happen quickly, and fatality rates increase dramatically the longer a swimmer is submerged.  Two Ph.D. researchers in Austin, TX set out to assess technology that enables staff at commercial pools  to recognize drowning incidents as quickly as possible. They chose the WAVE Drowning Detection  System due to its simplicity and reliability in detecting submerged swimmers and because it is actively  used in pools around the country. 

In the latest issue of the International Journal of Critical Illness and Injury Science, Dr. Molly Johnson and  Dr. Karla Lawson published the first-ever peer-reviewed study on the real-world effectiveness of  technology used to prevent drowning at pools with large groups of children. The findings indicate a  breakthrough in drowning prevention, with 93% of lifeguards and staff surveyed agreeing or strongly  agreeing that using WAVE could help save someone's life. Another 80% said WAVE helps lifeguards be  more aware of how long swimmers are underwater. 

The WAVE Drowning Prevention System uses a lightweight headset or clips that attach to goggles to  measure how long a swimmer's face is underwater. If a swimmer is underwater for too long, lifeguard  bracelets start to vibrate. If a swimmer remains submerged, an alarm sounds.  

“We have the technology that can greatly reduce the chance of a drowning impacting any family,” said  WAVE Co-Founder & CEO Mark Caron. “Aquatics Directors across the country have told us WAVE is  changing the way their lifeguards behave. They’re more engaged because they’re working closely with a  system designed to enhance their jobs.” 

The study examined a WAVE system in use at a pool with 40–60 children in it at all times. The alerts  generated by WAVE highlighted risky behavior by the children, like breath-holding or doing handstands.

This kind of play is discouraged by lifeguards due to the danger it poses if the child cannot get back to  the surface before they need air. The phenomenon known as Shallow Water Blackout, where people  drown from underwater breath-holding highlights the need to limit such risky pool behavior. 

According to Dr. John Fletemeyer, Executive Director of the Aquatic Law & Safety Institute, who was not  involved with the study, “Those of us in the drowning prevention community have been waiting for a  technology that is affordable, highly accurate and reliable, and simple to set-up and use. It’s great to see  the WAVE technology being verified in the field and viewed so positively by lifeguards and staff.” 

WAVE products are designed to supplement, not replace, vigilant human supervision. 

The media is welcome to get b-roll/interviews/pictures of swimmers using the WAVE system at any of  our WAVE-enabled facilities. We are also available for in-studio or virtual demos and interviews. 

A representative list includes:  

Taunton, MA Boys & Girls Club of Metro South 

Hobart, IN Hobart High School and Middle School 

Wilton, CT Riverbrook Regional YMCA 

Fort Lauderdale, FL Boys & Girls Club of Broward County 

Austin, TX YMCA at Camp Moody 

Park City, UT Park City Aquatic Center 

Research paper information:  

Johnson MB, Lawson KA. Evaluation of the WAVE Drowning Detection SystemTM for use with children's summer  camp groups in swimming pools: A prospective observational study. Int J Crit Illn Inj Sci 2022;12:184-9


Nicole Papageorge Paff  

WAVE Drowning Detection Systems  

(m) 603-591-8288   

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