Neon colors provide best safety for swimsuits, with children of particular concern

With more than 150 people drowning each year in New York State, and it being one of the leading causes of death among children, the color of swimsuits might make a difference.

Photographic results from light color pool bottoms (top panel) and dark pool bottoms.

ALIVE-Solutions of Idaho, a water safety support organization, promotes the use of bright neon colored swimsuits as a result of numerous comparison photographs of different swimwear under different types of water situations.

The State Health Department reports today, as it promoted swim safety, that drowning is the fourth leading cause of death among children up to five years of age and the seventh leading cause for children from five-to-14.

Swimsuits, in photographs shared by ALIVE-Solutions, had various degrees of visibility underwater in a lake, and with both light and dark colored pool bottoms, although bright neon colors had the most consistency in being able to see swimwear from the surface. In a lake, many colors were barely visible or invisible.

Methods of testing and the results for each of the three water situations are available at

Funding assistance
New York State approved $150 million in funds this year to expand access to safe swimming opportunities for New Yorkers, address equity gaps, and provide resources for communities facing extreme heat.

The State Health Department (NYSDOH) says it is promoting initiatives to help more New Yorkers swim safely by addressing the statewide lifeguard shortage, increasing swimming instruction and increasing amenities at pools and beaches.

Free pool swimming at state parks
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation also announced yesterday that it would be helping to implement a public health campaign by Gov. Kathy Hochul to Get Offline, Get Outside by waiving pool entry fees at state parks this summer, including Letchworth at Castile in Wyoming County.

The initiative, which doesn’t include waiver of park entry fees, also will offer free sunscreen to pool users.

Safety measures
NYSDOH advises that “tragedies can be prevented by following these preventive procedures”:

— Keep children within arm’s reach and closely supervised in or near water, even when lifeguards are present. Life jackets are not a substitute for supervision when in or near water.

 — Teach children to swim at a young age. This is one of the best ways to reduce their risk of drowning. 

— No one should swim alone. Almost half of the people who drown are alone in the water at the time of the incident.

 — Do not dive in water less than eight feet deep or of an unknown depth. Diving is a leading cause of spinal cord injury, which can result in paralysis or death.

— Do not swim while impaired. Drugs and alcohol affect judgment, slow reaction times, and increase the risk of drowning.  Almost half of all drownings of individuals over the age of 14 are associated with alcohol or drug use.

— Pay closer attention to people with existing medical conditions that can increase the risk of drowning, such as seizure disorders.

Health tips
It also provides the following tips to reduce the risk of getting sick:

— Pool owners should maintain chemical safety to make sure it is not a breeding ground for germs. Check disinfectant levels at least twice a day.

— Stay out of the water if you have open wounds or are sick with diarrhea.

— Take children on frequent bathroom breaks and change diapers in the bathhouse or away from the pool to help prevent contamination.

— Whether at a pool, splash pad or local beach, shower for at least one minute before getting into the water to remove dirt and other contaminants.

— Avoid ingesting pool water which can make people sick.

— Never swim in cloudy or discolored water.

Additional safety and campaign information is available at