New app aims to sink child drowning risk

Boston, Massachusetts (CBS News) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year approximately 800 children drown. That's the number of students on 11 full school buses. Now, one father has turned to technology reduce the risk of drowning.

"You don't want to think that on your watch that something could happen to your child and everything like that," says Gina Criscitiello.

Criscitiello took her eyes off her three-year-old daughter at the family pool just long enough for her to slip underwater.

"I just happened to look over at the time, and my sister-in-law was pulling her up, thank God, and it was the most scariest thing of my life," she recalls.

Dave Cutler saw just how quickly a child can disappear from sight when a nine-year-old boy nearly drowned in their neighborhood lake suffering neurological damage.

"Drowning is just very difficult to detect. It's not like what you see in Hollywood. It's quiet, it happens fast, there's usually very little noise and the child could look like they are swimming underwater or playing," Cutler says.

In response, Cutler created iSwimband, the first wearable device to detect potential drownings. It's worn as a headband or as a wristband by swimmers or anyone who should not be in the water.

The sensor detects when it has been submerged too long and sounds an alarm on your smartphone or iPad.

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"For non-swimmers the warning time is almost instantaneous -- it's three seconds. On the headband, you can set it -- the minimum time is 20 seconds of straight submersion," Cutler says.

Cutler says iSwimband could also be used by the elderly or people with disabilities.

Cutler says he hopes the new technology will serve as another level of protection for parents, but warns it shouldn't be used as a replacement for vigilant supervision.

"We hope our product will save lives, but the only true thing that can save a life is another person retrieving that victim from the water," he says.

The iSwimband has an effective range of up to 100 feet and a price tag of $99.

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