Health & Science

Do you know the safest color for a child’s swimsuit?

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When shopping for bathing suits for your kids, you may not have thought much about one very important factor: the color. Did you know that the color of your child’s swimsuit can actually help keep them safe in the water?

Of course, the best way to keep kids safe while they’re in the water is to ALWAYS have your eyes on them — even if you think they have good swimming skills. But when you’re watching them, poor visibility can make it difficult to see whether they’re just playing, or actually struggling.

Your child’s swimsuit color can help them stand out in the water and make it easier for parents and lifeguards to see them. And the color that works best can change depending on the type of water your child is playing in. For example, one study found that neon pink is highly visible in a pool setting but nearly disappears in a lake.

Here’s a quick guide to the safest swimwear colors for your child’s water adventures!

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The safest swimsuit colors for kids

  • In pools: Neon pink and neon orange
  • In lakes and oceans: Neon orange, yellow, lime green

Keep in mind that solid colors are usually better than patterns. And bright neon colors, especially neon orange, tend to work the best across the board!

The least safe swimsuit colors for kids

  • Very dark colors  can look like shadows, dirt, or leaves in a pool, and mostly just disappear in open water
  • Very light colors — can look like reflections of light or clouds on the water, and are hard to see against light pool bottoms
  • Dark-colored patterns — obscure even the brightest neons underwater and make them much less visible

In the study, white and light blue performed the worst in a pool setting, and darker colors were the worst in open water.

Almost every color nearly disappeared at 18 inches below water level — and visibility gets worse with any kind of water agitation (like waves, splashing, bubbles, etc). And remember, environmental factors like overcast skies or murky water can also impact visibility in open water!

These tips can give you precious seconds to find your child if they slip underwater, but remember — there are no substitutes for flotation devices and undistracted supervision! Review more drowning prevention tips here.

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