According to the World Health Organization, about 327,000 people drown every year. This is among the top ten causes of death for children and young people in every region of the world. One company has developed a new product that is intended to reduce those numbers.
The Kingii is a simple device; a plastic compartment holds an inflatable plastic bag and a CO2 cartridge. You wear this on your wrist, and if you are in danger in the water, you simply pull on a lever to release and inflate the bag. This provides extra buoyancy to help you rise to the surface. The company describes it as “sufficient” for people weighing up to 285 pounds. The bag can be deflated and repacked, and the CO2 cartridge replaced, so that the device can be used again.
The company is careful to point out that this is not to be used as a substitute for a personal flotation device (PFD), or life jacket, that may be required for some activities such as boating. It does provide extra protection for swimmers and people who are active at the edge of bodies of water, such as when fishing. The fact that it is worn on the wrist means that it can be more convenient and less cumbersome than the typical PFD. The Kingii is available now for $90. The CO2 cartridges cost $6 for a pack of two.