(NEXSTAR) – With summer vacation around the corner, many parents are swimsuit shopping for their little ones – but they should cross one color off the list, a viral TikTok video urges.
“This is why you do not put your children in blue bathing suits,” mother Nikki Scarnati says while showing her daughter swimming in a backyard pool.
Scarnati’s daughter is wearing a light blue bathing suit that Scarnati says she bought on clearance just to make the video. Beneath the surface of the water, the girl’s body blends in easily.
“Look how hard it is to see her under the water,” says Scarnati, who is also an infant certified swim instructor. “And this is in calm water, this is not with a whole bunch of other kids playing and splashing around and having a good time.”
Scarnati shows her daughter swimming in both sunlight and shade to show how well the color blends with the environment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more children between the ages of 1 and 4 die from drowning than any other cause. It’s a tragedy that can happen in seconds and is often silent.
Parents can take easy steps to decrease the chances of a drowning, and the color of a child’s swimsuit does matter, experts say.
“For infants, toddlers, and young children, parents are encouraged to choose swimwear that is a bright color (such as yellow, orange, green, and neon colors) that will provide increased visibility when the child is in, on, or around the water,” National Drowning Prevention Alliance Executive Director Adam Katchmarchi told Nexstar. “Wearing swimwear that blends in with the surroundings can make it difficult to recognize and respond to these situations.”
In 2021, aquatic safety group Alive Solutions Inc. tested 14 different swimsuit colors both swimming pools and lakes and found that bright and contrasting shades, especially neon, were most visible underwater.
Swimsuits in white and light blue were the worst in a pool with a light-colored bottom as they would “disappear” under the surface. Darker colors could be problematic as well since researchers found they might be “dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt, or a shadow” on the bottom of the pool. Neon orange, green and yellow stood out the most.
Those same colors had the highest visibility in dark-bottomed pools and lake settings as well, the study found.
“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.