Color Matters: Choosing Safe Swimwear Colors for Your Children - Stop Drowning Now

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Color Matters: Choosing Safe Swimwear Colors for Your Children

As a parent or guardian, you want to do everything possible to keep your children safe. Splashing in a pool, ocean, lake, or river can provide hours of fun and entertainment, but it’s not without risk. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in children one to four. It’s quick and silent and can happen to anyone, even strong swimmers. There are several steps you can take to ensure their day in the water is filled with laughter and fun, including choosing the right color of swimwear.

That’s right. The best way to keep your kids safe in the water is to give them your undivided attention, but something as basic as the color of your child’s swimwear can contribute to their safety. Continue reading to learn about the importance of selecting safe swimwear colors for children, supported by research and expert advice.

Why Swimwear Color Matters

Enhancing Visibility in Water

The choice of colors can be crucial in quickly locating your child if they go underwater, and as we know, in potential drowning situations, those seconds saved can be life-saving. Visibility is a critical factor in preventing drowning incidents. Bright and contrasting colors can make spotting a child in the water easier, especially in crowded or murky conditions. 

The Science Behind Color Visibility

Research shows that swimwear color can significantly impact how quickly people can spot a child in the water. The effectiveness of a color can vary based on the type of water. 

In open water, bright neon colors like orange, yellow, and lime green performed the best for visibility. While pools were generally more forgiving, testers noted that although darker colors are visible against light pool bottoms, they could easily be mistaken for piles of leaves, dirt, or shadows. Therefore, they recommended avoiding darker colors when possible.

White suits were also cautioned against in open water, as they resembled patches of cloud reflections.

Contrast Is Key 

The recommendation is to choose bright and contrasting suit colors for swimming, regardless of the location. Similar to how a brightly colored outfit can help you spot your child in a crowd, bright colors are essential for identifying a child in the water.

The findings also highlight the need to consider various environmental factors affecting visibility when preparing for a day of water activities. Factors such as water clarity, lighting, currents, and weather conditions can all influence below-surface visibility.

Although bright neon colors generally performed best, some colors, like neon pink, were visible in a pool but nearly disappeared in a lake, indicating the importance of choosing a suit that provides high visibility in the specific type of water you plan to visit.

Tests also reinforce the importance of keeping people on the surface with life jackets in lakes, beaches, rivers, and other open-water environments.

The Safest Swimwear Colors for Kids in Pools: Neon pink and orange

● The Safest Swimwear Colors for Kids in Natural Bodies of Water: Neon orange, yellow, and lime green

Colors to Avoid

Dark colors like navy blue, black, and dark green should be avoided, and pale colors like white and light blue should be avoided. These colors can blend into the water, making it difficult to spot a child quickly.

Keeping Children Safe in the Water

While choosing the best color swimwear for your child can make a child in distress more visible, it’s important to remember that active supervision is the most effective way to prevent drowning. 

Follow these strategies to keep children safe in the water:

Vigilant Supervision

An assigned adult must vigilantly supervise children when they are in or near water. This means maintaining undivided attention on the children — no texting, answering phone calls, reading, or rummaging through bags for supplies. Supervision should always be within arm’s reach for young children.

Adults must also be conscious of all potential hazards in any water-related environment, whether on vacation, at the beach, on a boat trip, visiting friends, or at a community pool.

Disasters can occur in mere seconds, so even a brief conversation can prevent effective monitoring of children around water. Constant, vigilant supervision is the only way to ensure children’s safety in and around water.

Swimming and Water Safety Lessons

While knowing how to swim doesn’t eliminate the risk of drowning, it can reduce this risk by 88% for children aged one to four.

Pediatricians advise that most children over one year old can benefit from swim lessons. However, swim lessons are not recommended for children under one year of age because they aren’t developmentally ready to learn breathing techniques. Consult your pediatrician to determine if your child is ready for swim lessons.

Many organizations, including the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and local community pools, offer affordable or even free swimming lessons and financial assistance.

Emergency Preparedness

Do you know what to do if you find an unresponsive child in the water? The skills and knowledge to respond to an emergency are essential for preventing drowning.

Adults responsible for children’s safety around water should always have a phone nearby to call for help quickly. Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is vital. Check with your local American Red Cross chapter, community organizations, or YMCAs for CPR classes and certification.

If you own a pool, it is crucial to have rescue equipment on hand, such as reaching and throwing devices for quick rescues, and a well-stocked first aid kit. Posting CPR instructions is also beneficial. Pool owners should take a local water safety course to learn proper rescue techniques.

Life Jackets

Accidents can occur unexpectedly, and in such moments, a life jacket can be the crucial factor that prevents a mishap from becoming a catastrophe. A United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved life vest is a vital safety measure for activities in and around natural bodies of water or while boating. Life jackets are essential for children who are not strong swimmers. However, their effectiveness depends on a proper fit.

Everyone Can Help Prevent Drowning

Selecting the right swimwear color for your children is a simple yet effective step in ensuring their safety in water. Bright, neon, and high-contrast colors significantly enhance visibility, reducing the risk of accidents and allowing for quicker responses in emergencies. Remember, color matters when it comes to swimwear safety. Stay informed, stay safe, and always keep an eye on those in the water.

Together, we can end the heartache of losing a loved one due to drowning. Take our Water Safety Challenge to measure your family or community’s water safety competence, and help us provide water safety outreach to schools and community groups to keep everyone safe.