The colour of your kid’s swimsuit could save their life


Dressing your kid in vibrant colours makes them easier to spot in a crowd—and under water, too.

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes days by the pool, trips to the beach and weekends at the cottage. While all these outings can be tons of fun for the family, it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with being around water—and how little things, like something as simple as the colour of your kid’s bathing suit, can help keep them safe.

That’s right, dressing our children in bright colours doesn’t only protect them in a crowd. While your kid can disappear at an amusement park in the time it takes for you to check your phone, having good visibility is also crucial when they’re in or around a body of water.

After all, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in children: It’s quick, it’s quiet and it can happen to anyone (even good swimmers!). This is why water safety company ALIVE Solutions Inc. conducted a study to see how colour impacts visibility. The company took swimsuits in a variety of hues and submerged them in both a lake and a pool to test which colours were easiest to see underwater, so if your kid does start to drown you’ll be able to spot them quickly.

Photo: Courtesy of ALIVE Solutions Inc.

In the lake, they observed the suits in 18 inches of water from three different perspectives (including the elevated position of a parent sitting on the dock) and found the top colours for visibility to be neon yellow, neon green and neon orange.

“Think bright and contrasting,” the company says in a post detailing their findings. They also noted that it’s important to consider other environmental factors that may impact visibility, including water clarity, lighting, currents and the weather.

Photo: Courtesy of ALIVE Solutions Inc.

In the pool, they tested visibility in both still and agitated water, and also found that bright and contrasting colours are your best bets. In this setting, white and light blue had the worst visibility, and neon pink and neon orange had the best.

“Although the darker colours show up on a light pool bottom,” the company wrote, “they can often be dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt, or a shadow.”

While neons were the best options overall, it’s interesting to note that some colours, like neon pink, were easy to see in a pool but practically disappeared in the lake. It’s important to cater your kids’ swimwear to the type of water they’re visiting.

So next time you’re buying your kid a bathing suit, you might want to think more about colour than style. And keep these other water safety tips in mind:

  • Remember that drowning can occur in any body of water, not just a lake or a pool. Kids can drown in as little as two inches of water meaning bathtubs, buckets and even toilets are potential hazards.
  • Make sure whoever is on watch duty knows they’re on watch duty and will be able to rescue if needed. This person should avoid all distractions, including their phone, and be 100 percent focussed on the swimmers.
  • Having basic first-aid training and becoming CPR certified are great ideas for anyone planning to spend time by the water this summer— it may not be your kid that you have to save!
  • Teaching your kids how to swim and how to behave safely around water are also key ways to prevent drowning. Kids can start swimming lessons when they’re around one years old and should be taught self-rescue techniques on top of their basic swimming skills.
  • Keep your kids’ bicycles, scooters and other wheeled toys away from the water. They can easily skid out and fall into the pool unexpectedly, becoming trapped underneath the object they were riding.

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