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The Water's Fine

Computerized lifeguard safeguards swimmers

(HealthDay) -- Computers are in use everywhere. Now, they're even saving lives at the bottom of swimming pools.

Using a video camera hooked up to a computer to scan the bottom of a pool, a new system -- known as the "Poseidon" -- alerts lifeguards when a swimmer has been down for too long.

Programmers designed the system to be able to tell the difference between someone who is playing in the water and someone who is drowning, according to this USA TODAY article. Of course, there's no guarantee that the device will catch every swimmer in trouble, but it does add another layer of protection.

"There is no guarantee in life," says Mike Forer, the environmental health and safety supervisor for the St. Cloud, Minn., school system, which recently installed the device in its pools. "It's just a third eye -- an assist to our lifeguards."

There are plenty of other steps that can be taken to prevent drownings. This article from the United States Lifesaving Association details 10 tips on staying safe in the water. And, this article from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission describes steps that residential pool owners can take to prevent drownings.

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