An Easy Way to Keep Kids Safe in the Pool This Summer

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Summer is almost here, which for many of us means lots of fun with the kids at the beach, lake or pool. But before you get splashing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants you to know that drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages one to four and the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in children ages five to fourteen. (Scary, we know.)

The good news is that, even when floaties and life vests aren’t in the picture, your child’s bathing suit can actually save their life—provided you pick the right color, that is. According to the results of several tests conducted by Alive Solutions—a company that specializes in aquatic safety, risk assessment and training—the color of a swimsuit has a considerable impact on visibility in the water, which, needless to say, is a key factor when it comes to getting life-saving assistance during a drowning event.

Per the water safety experts, white and blue are the worst colors to have on your child’s swimsuit, noting that these shades disappear in pools with a light color bottom.

Certified ISR swim instructor and water safety advocate Nikki Scarnati agrees. In a TikTok video that has been viewed over 6 million times, she shows parents exactly how difficult it is to see a blue swimsuit in the pool.

And, um yeah, that’s pretty scary to think about. But if light blue and white are unsafe colors for the pool, then which shades should parents shop for when it comes to their kid’s swimsuit? “Think bright and contrasting,” advises Alive Solutions.

In order to determine which color swimsuit is the safest, the experts conducted three tests —one in a dark-bottom pool, one in a light-colored pool and one in open water (think: lake or ocean). The observations were made by taking photos of swimsuits in various colors floating at the surface of the water, and then rephotographing them after they had been submerged 18 inches (visibility was zero for all colors at a two foot depth) into agitated water.

The results varied slightly between the test environments (white completely disappeared in a light color pool bottom but fared slightly better in a dark pool bottom environment, for example), however bright and contrasting colors were the clear winners, with neon orange, green and yellow as the top picks.

In the image above taken in a light color pool bottom, the top photo is the fabric underwater, and the bottom photo is the fabric with surface agitation. It’s clear to see that even in calm water, the white and light blue swimsuits are extremely difficult to spot while the bright and contrasting colors were much easier to see. (In the open water test, it wasn’t just white and blue that fared poorly—all colors except for the neon ones disappeared quickly.)

The takeaway: When buying a swimsuit for your kid, look for neon colors with contrasting patterns. It’s a simple choice that could save your kid’s life.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...