BELMONT, N.C. -- Belmont's YMCA debuted a new technology on Thursday that it believes will protect children from accidental drownings.
Lifeguards will now place SEAL SwimSafe neck bands on children swimming at The Y; it looks similar to a behind-the-neck bluetooth device.
If a child wearing it is submerged underwater for more than 10-20 seconds, the device starts flashing red and white lights before sounding an alarm.
Dr. Graham Snyder, a Raleigh-based emergency room physician, created the device after he became concerned seeing many young drowning victims arrive at his emergency room.
"Everybody thinks that when kids drown, it's really noisy, like they scream and yell and wave their hands," Dr. Snyder said. "The truth is it's the opposite of that."
Accidental drownings are considered "silent killers". In fact, 88 percent of drownings happen when adults are nearby.
Since Memorial Day weekend, NBC Charlotte has reported on several drownings and near-drownings in the region, including a two-year-old girl who nearly drowned Wednesday in South Charlotte's Morrison YMCA pool, and a five-year-old boy who drowned in a Statesville apartment complex pool despite being surrounded by other swimmers
YMCA lifeguards and children swimming there, including five-year-old Oliva D'Avria, are excited to use the devices.
"It's a necklace that keeps us safe!" D'Avria said. "I like it because it has colors on it."
For more information on SEAL SwimSafe, click here.
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