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Yes, a neon swimsuit could save your child's life

Neon-colored swimsuits are the safest choices. Alive Solutions tested several colors and found bright, contrasting colors showed up best in both pools and lakes.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Sun tans, sweat and seasonal bug bites -- we're wearing the telltale signs of summer on our sleeves.

So, what color are those sleeves, and could the hue be the clue to preventing swimming tragedies?


The C-D-C reports drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional death among children, which likely is why a color-coated picture is garnering clicks, shares and saves online this summer.

The image depicts a chart, claiming to prove neon-colored swimsuits are most visible in water and thus, subsequently, can help prevent drownings.

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Is it true bright-colored swimsuits the best choices?

Credit: Alive Solutions


  • Alive Solutions - organization of aquatics experts
  • Renee Hicks Walker - certified swim instructor


Neon-colored swimsuits are the best colors to wear for water visibility. The optimal color for both pool and lake water is neon orange.


Both sources conclude the chart is true. 

"If I think about it, I remember times when there's a lot of splashing, and if a child has on a light-colored bathing suit, the splash can camouflage them in the water. So, yes, bright colors are your thing," Walker concluded.

Alive Solutions tested 14 colors of swimsuits in a swimming pool with a light-colored floor. The researchers looked at how the colors appeared in both still and agitated water. The bright, contrasting colors were most visible, especially the neon pink and orange. Overall, the white and light blue swimsuits scored the worst. Dark gray and black were somewhat visible, but Walker suggested avoiding all neutrals.

"The reason behind that is if you're in an open water setting, the tan or the black or the white can mimic some leaves or a limb or dirt, and someone may not see [the swimmer] because they think it's something that's part of the landscape," Walker explained.

Alive Solutions ran the same color test in 18 inches of lake water. Neon orange, yellow and green were most visible. White did OK, but neon pink did not show up as well as it did against the light-colored pool bottom.

Credit: Alive Solutions

Researchers emphasized an important point in their findings -- at 24 inches of lake water, all colors disappeared. That is why, both sources emphasized, it is crucial to keep swimmers above the surface in open water. Life jackets are life savers.

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