A terrifying photo shared on social media has revealed why parents shouldn’t be buying blue-coloured swimwear for their children. The shot shows a boy at the bottom of a swimming pool in Australia — but rendered essentially invisible against his surroundings by the similar colour of his swim gear.
Had the child been drowning, he could easily have been overlooked by the pool’s lifeguard or his caregivers. According to the nurses who shared the image, it starkly highlights the importance of dressing kids in bright coloured swimwear.
The photograph went viral after it was shared on Facebook by CPR Kids — a New South Wales-based organisation run by paediatric nurses that teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid for babies and children.
They wrote: “What do you see underneath the water here? Take a good look. Anything?
“Yes, there is a child there. It’s hard to believe, we know!
“One of the CPR Kids Educators was at a pool party with friends and noticed how cloudy the water had become after being used all day.
She asked one of the children who was wearing a pale blue swimsuit, to swim to the bottom. The result shocked her — as it did everyone in the CPR Kids team!”
According to CPR Kids, the shocking photo demonstrates the importance of getting bright-coloured and fluorescent swimwear for kids.
Blue, dark or dull coloured swimwear is best avoided, the group has advocated.
This ensures that children can be easily seen in the water by parents and lifeguards in case they get into difficulties.
According to the World Health Organisation, age is a major factor in the demographics of drowning — with the highest rates among children aged one–four years, followed by children aged five–nine.
They explained: “This relationship is often associated with a lapse in supervision.”
While adults can last around two minutes underwater while drowning, children typically die much faster — within 30 seconds to two minutes — making a rapid rescue essential.
As CPR Kids notes: “Drowning is silent, and every second counts.”
Furthermore, ensuring that children are clearly visible is important to help ensure that other pool users don’t accidentally jump or dive in on top of them. Such collisions can lead to injury or even death.
According to CPR Kids, the fact that the pool in their photo had been in use for a few hours contributed to the murkiness of the water and the child’s unintended camouflage.
They explained: “The cloudiness was likely due to sunscreen etc. in the water as this is usually a clear pool.
“There would be a number of things contributing to the low visibility here — but the image has not been altered in any way.”
Regardless, they added, “the message behind the image is what is so important.”
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The post on social media attracted hundreds of responses — with many commenters expressing surprise at how hard it was to see the child at the bottom of the pool.
For example, Facebook user Vitchuta Sahapat said: “Am I the only one who still cannot see a child, even with the circle marked?”
Emma Fanelli, meanwhile, added: “That is so scary! I couldn’t see the child at all.”
Others shared similar experiences. Paul Slowly wrote: “This is 100% correct!
“I thought I was carefully watching my three kids. My son had a bright blue Speedo sun shirt on that I didn’t think anything of.
“He stepped backwards off the step and went under. Originally I thought he was under for only three seconds — but my camera caught the whole thing and it was 26 secs!!!
“I can’t believe I was within arms reach of him and didn’t notice because of his blue swim shirt.”
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