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The color of your child’s bathing suit could save their life


Safety around water involves a lot of common sense. Generally, the last place you’d expect to find common sense is in a viral TikTok video. However, that’s exactly what you get from Nikki Scarnati, a certified Infant Swimming Resource swim instructor. In her brief video, she demonstrates the dangers of placing your child in a blue bathing suit. As a responsible parent, then, what colors are safest for your child?

Drowning doesn’t happen like it does in the movies

Hollywood has a way of changing things up so they appear more dramatic on screen. But Hollywood isn’t reality — it’s fiction, and it’s done for a greater storytelling impact. However, many people believe the fiction because they see that more than the reality. For instance, when someone is drowning, they aren’t throwing their hands up in the air and clamoring for attention and yelling for help. Instead, they are silent.

The Mayo Clinic states that drowning can happen in any body of water, whether it’s a lake or a tub. It happens in under a minute and there are usually no cries for help or signs of panic. When someone is drowning, their hands are underwater, trying to push their head up so they can breathe. Since breathing is more of a priority than talking, most drowning victims are unable to call out for help.

What this means, sadly, is that most often, the way you identify a drowning victim is by seeing a motionless body underwater. The lack of water clarity or the camouflage nature of their bathing suit can mean you don’t even notice a drowning victim — even when it’s happening just a few feet away. This is why it’s important never to let your child out of your sight for any length of time when you’re in or around water.

Why bathing suit color makes a difference

In nature, camouflage allows animals to blend in with their environment so they can hide in plain sight. For some creatures, this is how they survive; it keeps them from being seen. Choosing the wrong color bathing suit for your child accomplishes exactly the same thing — it makes it harder for your child to be seen. This is the opposite of what a parent wants.

Alive Solutions has performed several visibility tests with 14 different bathing suit colors to illustrate how different colors behave in different environments, including light-colored pools, dark-colored pools and lakes. They also tested visibility in calm and agitated water.

While performance varied depending on the environment and conditions, in general, the company found that bright and contrasting colors were the easiest to see. It’s important to point out that bright does not mean light, as neon colors tend to stand out, while white and light blue become virtually invisible in water. Also, contrast is in relation to the environment — the more the suit clashes with the color of the pool, the better.

Best bathing suits for visibility

Best Kanu Surf Boys' Platinum Rashguard

Kanu Surf Boys’ Platinum Rashguard

rashguard is a step beyond a bathing suit because it gives you a larger color patch to identify. This long-sleeve option for boys is available in bright orange, bright green and bright yellow. The shirts have a UPF rating of 50+.  

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Best Kanu Surf Girls' Keri Rashguard

Kanu Surf Girls’ Keri Rashguard

The girls’ Kanu Surf rashguard options also have a UPF 50+ rating. They’re available in sizes 2 through 16 and feature a comfortable fit. The best color options are bright pink, bright yellow and bright orange.

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Best Estamico Boys Short Sleeve Rash Guard Shirt

Estamico Boys Short-Sleeve Rashguard Shirt

This simple boys’ swim T-shirt has short sleeves. The material is quick-drying and offers a slim fit. Like other rashguard shirts, it has a UPF 50 rating. The best color options for visibility are fluorescent green, rose, solid orange and bright yellow.

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Best Shekini Girls Print Bathing Suits

Shekini Girls Print Bathing Suit

The Shekini is a basic, one-color girls’ swimsuit. It has a pull-on closure with non-adjustable straps and is quick-drying for maximum comfort. You can get it in fluorescent green, phosphor and lemon yellow for the best visibility in water.

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Best Lands' End Boys Long Sleeve Rash Guard

Lands’ End Boys Long-Sleeve Rashguard

This rashguard is another solid option to help keep your child safe. The best color to get is electric yellow neon. It has long sleeves, UPF 50 and is machine-washable. The moisture-wicking fabric helps prevent chafing, and it’s designed to hold up to chlorine.

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Best iXtreme Infant-Toddler Rash Guard Shirt

iXtreme Infant/Toddler Boys’ Rashguard Shirt

If you have an infant or toddler, this rashguard is available in sizes 12 months to 4T. The green acid and orange colors offer the best water visibility. The skin-friendly fabric is made of 90% polyester and 10% Spandex and has a pull-on closure.

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Best Cheryl Creations Kids One-Piece Swimsuit

Cheryl Creations Kids One-Piece Swimsuit

While most of the colors this one-piece comes in are not ideal for visibility, there’s a neon green option suitable for darker pools and lakes. The soft and stretchy material provides a comfortable fit, and it comes in sizes 7 through 16.

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Best Lands' End Boys Swim Trunks

Lands’ End Boys Swim Trunks

The electric yellow neon and green gecko neon are the best colors to get in this boys’ swimsuit. They have a 7-inch inseam, an elastic waistband and a drawstring closure for fit and comfort. These swim trunks are best when worn with a high-visibility rash guard.

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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