(NEXSTAR) – The color of your child’s bathing suit may be more important that you realize.
The results of a recent study indicate that brighter, neon swimsuits are the most easily visible when submerged below the surface of pools or open water. The findings also came just ahead of Memorial Day weekend, when families across the country may be taking their little ones to the water.
Alive Solutions, Inc., a consulting and education firm focusing on aquatic safety, conducted a series of tests with over a dozen swimsuit colors to come to their results.
In one of the first tests, 14 different suits in various colors were submerged in a pool with a light-colored (white) bottom, both with and without surface agitation of the water. The most visible swimsuits, as observed by Alive Solutions, were those in neon pink and neon orange. Swimsuits in white and light blue were deemed to be the least visible, as they “disappear” underwater. Darker colors, too, were a poor choice as they may “often be dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt, or a shadow” on the pool’s bottom, Alive Solutions determined.
Another test was conducted in a dark-bottomed pool, with similar results: neon green, yellow and orange were determined to be the most visible. Darker colors like black, gray and dark green looked even darker under the surface, and the white swimsuit appeared blue enough that it blended too much with the water.
The same test was repeated on a partly sunny day at a lake, with different-colored swimsuits observed on the surface and also under 18 inches of water, the latter from two different angles. Neon green, yellow and orange were the top choices, followed by white, but “all other colors disappeared so quickly,” Alive Solutions found.
In all three tests, Alive Solutions concurred that “bright and contrasting” colors were the best options for increasing visibility. But the group warned that it takes more than the right swimsuit to keep a child safe.
“Also remember … the bright and contrasting colors help visibility, but it doesn’t matter what color your kids are wearing if you aren’t supervising effectively and actively watching,” the group stated in an April blog post.
Natalie Livingston and Ashley Wolfe, the co-founders of Alive Solutions, have nearly four decades of collective experience in the aquatics industry, having both worked in safety consulting and accident investigations.