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Swimsuit color choices and the safety impacts on you and your kids

Swimsuit color choices and the safety impacts on you and your kids
Swimsuit color choices and the safety impacts on you and your kids 02:48

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Now that we're on this side of Memorial Day, it's officially swimming season and with that comes a new way to look at swimsuits.

You want to look your best, but your choice for you and your children also brings a question of safety.

This is one of those things that most folks don't think about, but it makes a lot of sense. The color of the swimsuit matters a lot!

As hot as it is, the relief of a dip is undeniable -- and what your suit looks like makes no difference until there is a problem. 

"Drowning can happen in just a moment," said Nicole Roschella from the Pittsburgh Region of the American Red Cross. "Even as little as 20 to 60 seconds for someone who's drowning to submerge underwater."

In that circumstance, being seen under the water is crucial and the color of your suit matters.

Specializing in aquatic safety, Alive Solutions tested different colored suits in water at the surface as well as 18" under water, observed from angles consistent with lifeguards or someone who was poolside.

In a pool with a light-colored bottom, white and light blue suits virtually disappear, especially when the water is disturbed.

Under the same circumstances in a lake, only the brightest neon colors could be seen -- with orange, yellow, and lime green being the best. 

When Alive Solutions added patterns to the neon suits, small and light-colored patterns didn't change visibility much, but dark patterns decreased visibility significantly.

Choosing the right color only improves safety when joined by vigilance.

"I am a big proponent of what I call a designated watcher -- somebody has to be watching your kid," said Dr. Purva Grover from the Cleveland Clinic.

And that designated watcher should be free of all distractions.

"You know, that 20 seconds could be you replying to a text or applying sunscreen and it can happen so quickly," Roschella said.

You would think a white or light blue suit would be highly visible, especially in a lake, but Alive Solutions says from their testing, they look like reflections on the surface, not people.

The best suggestion is to go with a bright, plain, neon suit.

As obnoxious as it sounds, the darker colors really disappear in a lake or river. Even the lighter colors are hard to see in a swimming pool. 

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