California, (July, 2011).—Like many families, the Eldridges are a summer loving family. From lazy afternoons floating in the lake, to the cool tingle from the first lick of an ice cream cone, it’s no wonder we spend the winter counting down the days. Now that I’m a mom of a water-obsessed toddler, however, the season also brings some extra worries. Will those new water wings make him less cautious around the pool? Is it too hot to load him, or the dog, into the car? What if we have car trouble when out on one of our weekend exploration drives? Luckily I’ve found some great gadgets to curb some of my summer safety fears.
- Personal Life Guard: Every time I watch my two year old launch himself fearlessly into the pool, I smile, and then I try to ignore that little voice in my head that whispers, “What if he tries to do it when you’re not here?” If you also worry about the safety of your kids, pets, or weaker swimmers around your pool, the Poolguard PGRM-2 is the least expensive in-ground pool alarm to be highly recommended by Good Housekeeping and Dateline independent testing. Once installed on the side of your pool, the Poolguard will monitor the surface of the water, sounding alarms both outside and through an in-home monitoring device if anything over 18lbs enters the water, but won’t false alarm under high winds conditions. Available for about $200, the surface monitor runs off a 9V battery and will alarm if someone attempts to move or improperly disarm the device, or if the battery runs low. (http://www.amazon.com/Poolguard-PGRM-2-In-Ground-Pool-Alarm/dp/B0007P2CAE)
- Personal Water Alarm: While that’s a great option for home, what about that houseboat trip you’re looking forward to? Safety Turtle (www.safetyturtle.com) has developed a Personal Immersion Alarm that attaches to your child’s wrist or a pet’s collar. When activated, the alarm triggers a loud siren from the wireless base station if your child or pet falls into water. The system is portable and easily usable at home, on a houseboat, at the lake, or even at a public pool. One base station can monitor multiple wristbands, so you can keep track of all of your young children and pets with one system. The base station is available for about $119, while each wristband or collar costs about $53.
- Personal Valet: As much as I love the heat of summer when I’m lounging in a pool, I’m not so fond of it when I have to get into a blistering hot car that’s been roasting in the driveway or parking lot. Don’t risk you, your child, or your pet overheating. Check out the aftermarket remote vehicle start system from Crimestopper that will allow you to start your car, and your air conditioning, before you get in so the interior can cool down before you load up your loved ones. The Crimestopper RS-4 Remote Car Start with Keyless entry (www.amazon.com/Crimestopper-RS-4-Remote-Keyless-Diesel/dp/B001Q4C2P0/ref=pd_sim_sbs_e_11) is available for about $60. If you aren’t intimately familiar with the internal wiring of your car, check with your mechanic before buying one to make sure they’ll be able to install it for you.
- Personal Generator: Once I’ve made it safely into the car, air conditioner running, I tend to feel that arriving at my destination is a foregone conclusion. It only took one flat tire with a dead cell phone battery to teach me that I’d better plan for the worst. My husband likes his battery backup device, but the worrier in me knows that I may not always remember to keep that charged if it stays in my car. I prefer the Etón American Red Cross Microlink FR160, which retails for $30. This small, hand-held device has a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged by AC adapter (if you plan ahead), solar panel (if you’re stranded in the daylight), or manual hand crank (for the truly unlucky, like me). It can charge most USB-powered cell phones, has an AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, and an LED Flashlight. Leave it somewhere in the sun and you’ll never again be stranded on your way to summer fun. (http://www.amazon.com/American-ARCFR160R-Microlink-Self-Powered-flashlight/dp/B001QTXKCE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309929123&sr=8-1)
Do you have more summer safety concerns ruining your cool? Drop us a note on Facebook (facebook.com/nerdsoncall) or chat LIVE with a NERD at www.callnerds.com.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.
About Nerds On Call: Established in a spare room in Redding, Calif., in March 2004, Nerds On Call offers on-site computer and laptop repair services to consumers and businesses. Nerds On Call provides trouble-shooting for PCs and Macs, home and office networks, printers, iPods® and MP3 players, handheld devices and cell phones, home theaters and game systems, and virtually every other form of digital entertainment. In 2009, 2010, & 2011 the company was named to Inc. magazine’s list of 5000 fastest growing private companies. With 7 locations across California and Oregon, Nerds On Call serves more than 40,000 satisfied customers per year. For more information, visit callnerds.com or call 1-800-919-NERD.