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The color of your child's swimsuit could save their life

Experts say in addition to proper swim training and supervision while in the water, swimsuit color can add to your child's safety.
The color of your child's swimsuit could save their life
Posted at 11:26 AM, Jun 15, 2023

For many of us, the summer months are now here. That means boating, lakes, beaches and pools — and an increased focus on swim safety.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 5-14, and the numbers are rising.

The most recent federal data shows in 2019 there were 4,067 unintentional drowning deaths for all ages in the United States. In 2020, the number of deaths rose to 4,589, and in 2021, it rose to 4,677.

Experts say in addition to proper swim training and supervision while in the water, swimsuit color can add to your child's safety.

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"Drowning doesn't look like what it does on TV," said Heather Trnka, injury prevention supervisor at Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio. "Kids aren't splashing around yelling for help. They're bobbing right around the surface level, in and out, time and time again."

A recent analysis from Akron Children's Hospital and Alive Solutions shows how choosing a brightly colored swimsuit can help you spot your kids quickly and save their life if they need help.

Photos of different swimsuits underwater shows bright colors such as orange, yellow, and red can be seen most easily when submerged 18 inches, but other colors like white and blue are difficult to spot since they blend in with the color of the water.

Once you agitate the water so the surface becomes uneven, as if kids were playing in it, it can make some of the swimsuits nearly invisible.

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"When we talk with parents about water safety when they're really little, we want to make sure they're always being watched," said Trnka. "If a child goes missing, the first place we should look is a body of water because kids are drawn to the water."

According to Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey, a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds — the time it takes to get up and get a towel. It is why experts like Trnka say keeping a close eye on your child whenever they are in the water is critical, and picking a swimsuit color that makes them the most visible to you only helps with keeping them safe.


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