KSN/KODE — As the days get warmer and the weather allows for water activities, many caregivers are tempted to choose swimwear based on style, fit, and comfort. However, the color of a child’s swimsuit could be the key to saving their life.

ALIVE Solutions Inc., an aquatic safety company and advocacy group, conducted a study on the impact of color visibility underwater. The study is to show what it may look like if a child starts to drown, and how difficult it may be to spot them depending on the color of their swimwear.

The study focuses on three different tests by submerging a variety of colors in 18 inches of water in a light-bottomed pool, dark-bottomed pool, and lake water.

Light-bottomed pool test results. Photo courtesy of ALIVE Solutions

The light-bottomed pool test consisted of placing each color of fabric on the floor of the pool. A photo combining the test results shows 14 different colors in calm water, and again in agitated water. It found white and light blue colors were nearly invisible under the surface of the water, whereas neon pink and neon orange were bright and distinguished. Darker colors appeared to be a shadow in the water. The study findings note these darker colors can often be dismissed for a pile of leaves or shadows cast in the water and recommends staying away from dark colors like blue, green, purple, and black.

Dark-bottomed pool test results. Photo courtesy of ALIVE Solutions

The dark-bottomed pool test consisted of similar variables and procedures as the light-pool test. The study observations found that the water in the dark pool distorted colors and similar dark colors disappeared quickly. The brightest colors observed here are neon yellow, orange, and green.

Lake water test results. Photo courtesy of ALIVE Solutions

The lake water test also consisted of testing in 18 inches of water, and findings note the bottom of the lake was a brownish/grey color during a partly sunny day. All colors disappeared quickly except for neon yellow, orange, and green.

These findings highlight how important it is to choose bright contrasting-colored swimwear to detect possible drownings quicker and keep those in open water near the surface by using lifejackets.