Dr. Trent Grundmeyer, a professor at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, approached a non-profit school, Iowa BIG, in the school year of 2016-2017 with a project proposal. He had just lost his nephew, Eli, who had died while drowning in his own backyard pool at home. Trent’s goal is to notify parents of failing pool alarms on the market today and come up with a solution to keeping kids safe in their own pools at home.
Eli Rue Rowedder was born on October 28th, 2013. He was an energetic and lively kiddo that loved playing with his tractors, football, fishing and playing with his older siblings. His energy sadly ended on July 12th, 2016 when he quietly slipped out his parents back door and jumped in the backyard pool after a toy he had thrown over the edge. His parents found him within minutes but it was too late. Eli had passed away like too many other kids his same age in their own backyard pool.
After morning his loss, his uncle, Trent Grundmeyer, who had a similar aged son himself, started questioning why he didn’t have a pool alarm on their temporary backyard pool. He investigated pool alarms on the market and found alarming statistics about both pool deaths and the false sense of security many of the pool alarms give parents. Online ratings and comments suggested many high-priced alarms simply didn’t work and gave parents a false sense of security.
Most people don’t realize that 1-3 years are most likely to drowned (64%). Males are more likely to drown in pools than females and most drowning deaths occur during the months of May-August when backyard pools are up to beat the summer heat. 75% of drowning deaths happen at the kids own home often in inground pools (58%), above-ground pools (17%) and portable pools (9%). Beyond pool deaths, almost 5000 emergency room visits are made annually for serious pool related injuries and near-death accidents according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (2013).
Trent Grundmeyer, Eli’s uncle approached the students at Iowa BIG who quickly teamed up. The mission became clear after Eli’s story was shared and further statistics were uncovered. There was a need for parents to be better informed about pool alarms on the market and room for creating a pool alarm that was more effective to save kids’ lives. Since 2016, students, instructors, and Dr. Grundmeyer have collaborated on a hardware solution and created a website they have appropriately named SAFEli.org in memory of Eli. Both efforts are aimed at saving kids and sparing parents and relatives the sadness of losing a loved one in their own backyard pool.
We invite you to explore the website that is updated routinely to see new objective pool alarm ratings and ask you to share the website with those you know who might have younger children. We also hope to be releasing our own product in the future so that parents do have the peace of mind that when their child is out of sight they are still safe. Join us in our mission to keep kids safe in their own backyards.