As summer temperatures creep higher across the country, families will be heading to the water to cool off.
Parents might choose swimwear based on style or comfort, but one new study suggests color is the most important factor. In fact, it could make all the difference in preventing drowning.
In pools, the top photo in each section is the fabric underwater, and the bottom photo is the fabric with surface agitation.
"Our bottom two colors are white and light blue (check out how they disappear) and our top choices would be neon pink and neon orange," ALIVE Solutions said in its post. "Although the darker colors show up on a light pool bottom they can often be dismissed for a pile of leaves, dirt, or a shadow so I tend to stay away from those colors when possible."
The same colors were then tested in 18 inches of lake water with low visibility when it was partly sunny.
"We placed each color on the surface (first row images), second row images were from shore level perspective, and third row are from a slightly elevated perspective — simulating standing on a boat/dock view," ALIVE Solutions shared.
The top colors for visibility were neon yellow, neon green and neon orange. "Think bright and contrasting," the post notes.
"Having a background as an aquatic operator and lifeguard I know that certain colors are easier to see than others and also how challenging water can be to see through," Natalie Livingston, co-founder of ALIVE Solutions, told TODAY Parents in an interview. "I started to notice this personally with what my kids wore in different water environments and wanted to test the colors in different conditions so we could increase visibility as much as possible."
Breanna Smith Powderly, a former lead lifeguard at Hersheypark, which sees more than 3 million visitors per year, agreed.
"Kids wearing bright, fluorescent colors are much easier to keep track of," she told TODAY. "However, the lifeguard training that most water parks go through teaches the 10/20 rule — basically, 10 seconds to thoroughly scan your zone and 20 seconds to reach the person in distress — so even a child in those harder to see colors should be kept track of by a good lifeguard."
Even veteran parents said they found the results helpful.
"It’s definitely going to affect how I shop for my kids’ swimsuits in the future," Andrea Ament, a California mom of three, told TODAY. “I won’t be shopping for the cutest designs anymore, but rather the safest colors.”
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