News & Media

MERMAID TAILS - a safety reminder

Tuesday 8th Dec

What are they?

Mermaid tails are growing in popularity with their ability to make the swimmer look and swim like a mermaid. The mermaid tail binds a child’s legs and acts as a ‘flipper’ so that the child can swim like a fish. This require the wearer to use butterfly/dolphin kick to move about the water.

What are the safety issues?

Young children are often weak swimmers and should always be supervised around water regardless of whether they are wearing a tail or not.

With their legs held together, it is difficult for a swimmer to move in the water and the swimmer must perform the most challenging swimming kick, the butterfly/dolphin kick. This stroke is very tiring and is hard to get right.  

The product promotes breath-holding for better movement which can lead to shallow water blackouts.

If a child panics, it can be difficult for him or her to get back to the edge of the pool or get their head above water as natural movement is hindered.

What Kidsafe recommends:

  • Actively supervise children around water at all times
  • Remember that mermaid tails are not a safety aid in the water – children must be supervised at all times whilst using them
  • These products should only be used by children aged 6 years of age and older
  • Make a judgement on your child’s ability as a swimmer to use these products – parents can often overestimate their children’s abilities
  • Start slow and physically assist children to practice using the product in water that is not too deep
  • Follow any additional safety instructions provided by the manufacturer 
  • Ensure children take regular rests when using the product as it is more dangerous when a child is tired
  • Be sure to check your local pool’s policies regarding mermaid tails as they may be banned or restricted to certain areas of the pool.

Pool toys are a popular part of swimming and recreation and help promote active, outdoor time. Kidsafe would like to remind parents that pool toys and floatation devices do not ensure child safety and that children must be actively supervised by an adult at all times when they are in and around water. 

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