The Reason You Should Think Twice Before Buying Your Toddler a Blue Bathing Suit

A TikTok creator and licensed swim instructor shares some potentially life-saving advice about why kids shouldn't wear blue swimsuits in the water.

Happy laughing toddler girl having fun in a swimming pool

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With swimming season here, many parents are taking advantage of sales to snap up bathing suits and bulk sunscreen. (Definitely a great choice!) But while the new season's swimwear might look super cute and fun, there may be a hidden danger lurking in the details: the color of the bathing suit you choose for your child could increase their risk of drowning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4,000 people drown in the United States every year, and drowning is the leading cause of death in children under 4.

"So, this is not a bathing suit that my daughter wears on a regular basis. I bought it on clearance specifically for this example for parents who wanted to learn," says Nikki Scarnati, a Certified Self Rescue Swim Instructor through Infant Swimming Resource, known on TikTok as @springhill.isr.

As she speaks to the camera in her viral video, which has been viewed more than 6 million times and has attracted more than 541,000 likes, Scarnati zooms to the pool behind her, where her young daughter is swimming while wearing a pale blue bathing suit. "This is why you do not put your children in blue bathing suits. Look how difficult it is to see her under the water."

Her daughter, who is in very close range, blends in seamlessly with the blue water, making her appear nearly invisible. "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," she says. "Even look in the sunlight. Look how difficult it is to see her with that bathing suit on because it is the same color as our environment. So, do not buy blue bathing suits, guys. Don't buy blue bathing suits."

What Color Bathing Suit Is the Most Visible?

It's a brilliant point more parents should be aware of: the color of your child's swimwear can significantly impact their safety in the water. Scarnati says parents should opt for bright, loud colors and patterns to help make sure their children are easily spotted in the water. Bathing suits in neon colors are the most visible in the water, but if those are not an option, she says to look for red, orange, fuchsia, or yellow.

Here are a few more swimwear tips Scarnati advises:

  • Never wrap a towel over the arms; always wrap towels under the arms in case a child falls into a pool or body of water and needs their arms to catch themselves.
  • Goggles should not be used on children that cannot self-rescue or swim effectively on their own. Clear vision is critical.
  • Most flotation devices are not Coast Guard-approved for in-pool use or as learn-to-swim aids—they are only meant for open water and vessels for emergency survival.

Water Safety Tips for Kids

The color of a swimsuit alone isn't enough to keep kids safe in the water, says Chris DeJong, founder and president of Big Blue Swim School, a five-time U.S. National Swimming Champion, and a parent of three kids.

"Bright-colored swimsuits could potentially make a child more easily seen in the water, but unfortunately, drowning isn't always something obvious," DeJong says. "Someone in the water may not yell for help, wave their arms or thrash around. With this, we want parents and caregivers to remember that it is critical to always provide constant, careful supervision when children are at the pool, beach, lake, or any body of water."

DeJong shares an easy-to-remember acronym—S-A-F-E-R— that parents can use as a guide to ensure water safety:

  • Swim with a buddy and designate a "water watcher": Identify an adult in your group who keeps a close eye on swimmers and rotate that person every 30 minutes to avoid supervision fatigue.
  • Acquire CPR and first aid training: Parents and caregivers are encouraged to take CPR and first aid training with a reputable group, such as the American Red Cross, enabling them to respond quickly and confidently in case of injury.
  • Find and reduce water hazards: Install fencing, locks, and alarms around water if you have a pool at home, don't leave toys or items of interest near the water, and ensure proper fitting life jackets are available for any water activities.
  • Enroll in swim lessons to improve your child's skills: The CDC notes that formal swim lessons reduce drowning by 88%, making year-round swim lessons the best way to help a child be safer around the water.
  • Respond fast and call 911 for emergencies: A drowning incident isn't always obvious, making closer supervision essential for any water activity. Ensure the 'water watcher' can respond quickly and dial 911 in case of emergency.

One of the smartest ways to decrease drowning risks in kids is to expose them to year-round swim lessons, DeJong explains. "Swim lessons cannot be taught online, and it truly takes regular practice with a certified instructor to teach a child of any age how to properly swim and stay safe in the water. Look for a reputable swim school with trained instructors in your area."

Scarnati's TikTok account is chock full of excellent water safety advice for parents. "I was inspired to start making water safety content because I know what it's like to live in an area that lacks self-rescue instructors," she says. "I wanted to be a beacon of help for the parents that weren't sure where to start by pointing them in the direction of instructors in their area, non-profits for scholarships for swim lessons as well as tips and tricks parents could implement at home and what safe swim lessons should look like."

For more information on water safety, including self-rescue swimming lessons, check out these resources:

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drowning Prevention.

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