Alarms That Pass the Test Swimmingly

Here are alarms that made the grade with testers. They're available through pool-supply stores and, in some cases, on the Internet. All alarms listed below, except the Prevent Laser Perimeter Pool Alarm System, can be easily installed by the homeowner. Call or go to the Web sites for detailed product information and to locate a local retailer.

Underwater Alarms

Poolguard. About $259. PBM Industries (800) 242-7163;

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says this alarm "performed well," and Good Housekeeping rated it a "best solution."

Pooleye (Model PE21). About $149. SmartPool Inc. (888) 560-7665;

The Sentinel LINK pool alarm, manufactured by Lambo Products Inc., was originally recommended in the Consumer Product Safety Commission report as having "performed well." SmartPool Inc. acquired Lambo Products and renamed its products. The Pooleye model PE21 is equivalent to the Sentinel LINK alarm, according to SmartPool company President Richard Holstein.

Perimeter Alarms

Prevent Laser Perimeter Pool Alarm System. About $698. Caretaker Systems Inc. (800) 762-0647;

This system, mentioned in the Good Housekeeping report under "other options," sends a harmless laser beam around the pool. If someone crosses the beam, the alarm sounds. This will likely require professional installation, which runs about $150. The system can be purchased from the manufacturer or local companies.

Surface Alarms

Pool SOS. About $53. (This alarm is a manufactured by a Canadian company. Prices are in U.S. dollars. Prices on the Web site are in Canadian dollars.) Allweather Inc. (800) 267-2335 (The company's voice mail message is given first in French, followed by English.)

This was the only surface alarm recommended by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It, too, "performed well" during testing. The Pool SOS doesn't include a remote receiver that sounds an alarm inside the house. The company also makes a different model (Pool SOS + Remote, for about $133) that includes a remote receiver.

Until this year, safety standards for pool alarms had never been established in the U.S., according to the American Society of Testing Materials. But in May, the American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM, released industry standards for pool alarms. Products that meet the standards will be labeled "Meets ASTM PS128" or "Meets ASTM Safety Standards."

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